Cricket World Cup 2023: What India, Pakistan cricketers have to say ahead of ultimate face-off

The last time they faced each other in a World Cup in India was in 2016


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Published: Fri 13 Oct 2023, 3:32 PM

After a long wait of seven years, India will host a World Cup game against Pakistan in their own backyard. The last time they faced each other in a World Cup in India was in 2016.

Fans are eagerly anticipating a cracker of a contest on Saturday. But it is not just the audience who feel the adrenaline rush before the India-Pakistan game. Players, on both sides, remain under intense pressure. As Virat Kohli rightly pointed out, one has to be at his “absolute best” to face the Pakistan cricket team.

During an interaction with the official broadcasters of World Cup 2023 in India, Star Sports, big names like Kohli, Babar Azam and Shaheen Afridi shared their feelings about the crunch contest.

“Very excited and well-prepared. Feeling good both mentally and physically. You have to be at your absolute best to face them. It is an exciting challenge every time you play against Pakistan. There is no special preparation for the game just because it is against Pakistan. On the day you have to be at your absolute best playing at the international level. That is something I have always tried to do. It won’t change in any game I play for India,” said Kohli.

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The match will be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium — the world's largest cricketing venue — based in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad. India all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who is also the leader of Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Gujarat Titans, understands the enormity of playing in such an arena.

“We are playing in one of the nicest grounds you can play in the world. The largest of all. It is going to be a feeling which is going to be next to a dream,” Pandya said.

Crowd support plays a crucial role in key matches but it also brings added pressure. Pakistan pacer Shaheen Afridi admitted that home teams are bound to get more support, but he pointed out that the hosts will also face the pressure of expectation.

The fast bowler pointed out that Pakistan has been in good form in ODIs in 2023.

Both India and Pakistan have started their World Cup campaigns on a promising note. They have four points each in their kitty.

A victory against India in Ahmedabad will be Pakistan’s first in the ODI World Cup.

India leads the overall head-to-head in ODI World Cups by 7-0.


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