(Blog by Dr. Arun Swadi)
For cricket players, India versus Pakistan is just another cricket match. Nothing less and nothing more. That is what Indian skipper Virat Kohli insists but for cricket lovers from both countries, it is not game, it’s war. Again, nothing less nothing more. And come what may, they want their team to win it at any cost. They can excuse their team if they lose the world cup. But not the game between these arch rivals.
Honestly how I wished, this game was treated as another game only!! After all we appreciate our opposition number and the players once the game is lost and won. If Maxwell scores a quickfire fifty for winning cause or Ben Stokes turns the game on its head we appreciate them. Why not Babar Azam then?
And why not Pakistan appreciate Bumrah for his art of fast bowling? I know it is wishful thinking and will not happen soon but some day we all will realise, it is just a game and should be taken in the same perspective. We all know Gavaskar and Imran Khan were very good friends and admire each other. Wasim Akram highly appreciates Sachin and helps left arm seamers if asked. Even today the players from both sides have mutual respect for each other.
On Sunday, both the teams will start their world cup campaign by playing against each other. While India won inaugural world cup in 2007 , Pakistan have done it in next edition in 2009. That was long long ago. India did play final in 2014 against Sri Lanka. Pakistan have failed to that on any occasion then. So both are hungry for a win this time.
India have an edge but only little for playing IPL just before this tournament. Pakistan have played less cricket but that also means they are fresh. Indians, on the other hand, have been playing huge amount of cricket and look tired.
Man for man both the teams are balanced, maybe India are better with the bat and do not rely that much on one batsman. Pakistan banks heavily on Babar Azam. Pakistan bowlers have that mystery surrounding them. India have only Varun Chakravarthy.
In fielding, Indians look sharper than their counterpart and are match fit Toss will be vital as we have seen dew falling little later on some grounds in desert making it hard for the bowlers particularly spinners. Batting second may have an advantage then. We all wish dew factor will not decide the outcome of this very special game.