India must not entertain thoughts that it would start favourite in the marquee World Cup clash against Pakistan, warned former captain Sourav Ganguly, who said the Indian team perhaps made the mistake of taking Pakistan lightly in the 2017 Champions Trophy final and had to bite the dust.
“Pakistan has always been unpredictable, and it is a dangerous side - so there is no way the Indian team is going to take it lightly. Every step that the Indian team takes forward, we would want to be 100% sure of what we are doing, and it is well thought and well planned,” he said. The hype and interest an India-Pakistan cricket match generates is surreal and both Tendulkar and Ganguly agreed that “it is more than just a cricket match”.
“People get a bit carried away, and excited with this game, so from that point of view it’s going to be a huge game in Manchester on Sunday. My first trip as a captain against Pakistan in 2003 - we had never won there before, but then we won both the Test Matches and One-Days. My memories of playing against Pakistan have been happy times for India,” said Ganguly. Tendulkar also recalled the build-up of that 2003 tour.
“A year before we played each other, people had started talking about that match. They said, come-what-may, you must win that game, after that whatever happens they really don’t care. I said, don’t think like that because players think differently,” said Tendulkar.
Ganguly also felt that handling pacer Mohammed Amir will be key for India. Anil Kumble, another Indian stalwart, said since the two teams do not play each other quite often, it leads to building up a bit of ‘drama’.
“The World Cup comes once in four years, making the match all that more important. For a player, it’s another match, you still must do your skill sets well, you still have to bowl well, and take those catches, that’s something the Indian team will be focused on,” said Kumble.