Kohli is a legend and you get to learn a lot from him, says Rauf

Rauf said Pakistan will look to carry on the momentum that they gained from the massive victory against Hong Kong

Pakistan pacer Haris Rauf with Virat Kohli. (Twitter)
Pakistan pacer Haris Rauf with Virat Kohli. (Twitter)

James Jose

Published: Sat 3 Sep 2022, 11:35 PM

As it is, there is more than enough surrounding an India-Pakistan match and the fixture brings with it a lot of pressure. And while fans from both the countries are eager for their team to come out on top in this high octane contest, the current set of players have enjoyed an unusual camaraderie in recent times.

There have been many instances of their friendship, right from when then Indian captain Virat Kohli embraced opener Mohammad Rizwan after their T20 World Cup game in Dubai to Kohli and Pakistan skipper Babar Azam’s ‘bromance’ as well as chats between pace spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi, Kohli and other Indian players.

And the latest was Pakistan pacer Haris Rauf getting Kohli’s Indian jersey by the man himself after the group game of the DP World Asia Cup, between the two teams in Dubai.

And the 28-year-old reiterated it is just a game and should be treated as one. He also said that it was great to meet Kohli and learn from the star Indian batsman.

“It is a game and we treat it as just a game,” Rauf said at the ICC Academy on Saturday.

“The kind of player Virat bhai is, no doubt everybody knows how he has performed for his country in international cricket, he is a legend and you get to learn a lot from him. And like you speak to any senior player, he shows his experience. And you get to learn a lot speaking to a legend like him. And it felt good getting the signed shirt from him,” he added.

Coming to the Super Four clash against India, Rauf said that they will look to carry on the momentum that they gained from the massive victory against Hong Kong in the group stage.

“The kind of cricket we played in the first match against India, we will try to give our best effort when we play them again on Sunday. We have got a good momentum going after the win against Hong Kong. And we will look to carry it into the Super Four,” said Rauf.

“It is a high pressure game. We gave it our best (in the first game) even though it was a low-scoring game. So, we will look to do the same when we play them on Sunday,” he added.

Rauf also backed Azam to come good after the skipper and opener could only manage 10 and nine respectively against India and Hong Kong.

“It is a team game and it is not dependent on any one player. It is not like if only he scores, the team will win. Everyone knows Babar Azam is a world class player and he knows himself that he has to do his best for the team. He helps the team not just with his batting but as a player. He supports you as a player and he takes the players along as captain. He knows he hasn’t scored many runs yet and he is experienced enough to know how to score them. And I’m sure he will come good in the next matches,” he felt.

Rauf said they have plans for Suryakumar Yadav who played a magical knock against Hong Kong, and also for Hardik Pandya whose all-round brilliance made the difference in the two teams' first clash last Sunday.

“Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya have been playing well and we will try to get their wickets early,” Rauf said.

“The way he (Suryakumar) has been performing for his team for many matches and series, and the form that he is in, we try to bowl to our strengths. So, we will try to exploit the weaknesses of their batsmen and try to bowl more dot balls which will create pressure on them. It is but natural that if they don’t get runs, they will be forced into a bad shot,” he added.

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