Cricket world awaits the mother of all matches

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Cricket world awaits the mother of all matches

The lucky ones have tickets to the Adelaide Oval for the absorbing contest, which is now just 29 days away. It was the first match of the mega event which got sold out within hours of the tickets going up for sale on 14 February 2014.

By Javed Miandad-2015 © Icc Development &(international) Limited

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Published: Fri 16 Jan 2015, 12:47 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 7:43 PM

No cricketing contest can ever match the thrill and excitement of what a Pakistan versus India contest offers. It is the mother of all matches. Whether it’s a one-sided game or a nail-biting finish, people from both countries get involved so much that sometimes it is just not cricket! Whenever or wherever we play against each other, fans from all age groups in our two cricket-mad countries forget their Things To Do. They simply get glued to their television sets or watch the action on giant screens in a hope that only their team would win.

The lucky ones have tickets to the Adelaide Oval for the absorbing contest, which is now just 29 days away. It was the first match of the mega event which got sold out within hours of the tickets going up for sale on 14 February 2014.

I think the ICC did the right thing to showcase this iconic game early in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, instead of slotting it midway through the group stage. It will take off some pressure from both the sides and they will concentrate more on their remaining pool matches. I do believe that all the matches in an ICC Cricket World Cup deserve equal importance, but there are some contests which builds extra pressure and stress on the players.

No matter what the opposing captains say, players have the pressure of over a billion fans whenever they wear green and blue shirts.

What I would like to see is another exciting contest and whoever wins in Adelaide, fans should treat it as a loss on sporting field and nothing else. I would like to see the Pakistan versus India rivalry more on the cricketing field and the only way going forward is by improving our cricketing relations – both on and off the field.

While it’s tough to pick a winner of the 15 February encounter, Pakistan’s loss of Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal through injuries and suspension, respectively, is a huge setback. Considering the depth in India’s batting lineup with the likes of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ajinkya Rahane and Mahendra Dhoni, their big batting pillars, Umar and Saeed could have been proved handy for Pakistan. Without these two, I can now only hope that Mohammad Hafeez clears his retest as Pakistan needs experienced bowlers against what is sure to be a highly-experienced India batting line-up.

India’s recent 2-0 Test defeat in Australia will count for nothing in defence of its ICC Cricket World Cup title. In fact, it will be more acclimatised and have more knowhow of the pitches than the Pakistan team. The India cricket board did its homework well by scheduling its team’s tour to Australia before the all-important event. Players need time to adjust to the conditions and pitches in countries like Australia and New Zealand, and the India team has grabbed that added advantage.

Remember, we also went to Australia in 1992 a month before the World Cup. We didn’t win a single warm-up or practice match, but the experience of playing on various pitches helped our players when it mattered most in crucial matches. Pakistan hasn’t played in Australia for quite some time now.

Misbah-ul-Haq, Younis Khan, Shahid Afridi and Ahmed Shehzad need to adjust quickly in a short time. We need big scores, keeping in mind the bowling resources we have and I feel nothing less than 300-325 could challenge India’s strong batting. In one-day cricket, not all of the top six batsmen have to score. What Pakistan should not forget is it needs, at least, two of its top-order batsmen to score heavily and then the rest could chip in with 30s and 40s to give the scoreboard a solid look.

Pakistan should also forget the horror stats of having never beaten India in a World Cup match. In fact, what it should remember is that we lost against it in 1992 too, but it was us who lifted the World Cup trophy at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Pakistan should not get sidetracked in case the result doesn’t go in its favour on 15 February. The focus should be to win the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015!

 



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