This is one marquee clash that fans from both sides of the border eagerly await as much as the cricketers who are in the thick of things.
Legendary Sunil Gavaskar in his popular book ‘One Day Wonders‘ had written that Pakistan was one international team against whom he would never walk even if he knew that he was out unless the umpire raised his finger. (India strengthened by Yuvraj, Raina’s return, says Gavaskar) Gone are those days though.
Ask rival captains Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Mohammed Hafeez, you will get a vibe that the intensity of the Indo-Pak rivalry has mellowed down even though the teams rarely play each other apart from ICC tournaments. (Death bowling India’s prime concern, says Dhoni)
For Dhoni, “playing in right spirit” is far more important than crossing the line while Hafeez wants to maintain that there’s more to the ICC World T20 than one particular match.
“Well, India versus Pakistan game will always be intense but I believe it has mellowed down over the years. Nowadays, you won’t find altercations like it used to happen when the players of the last generation played,” Dhoni replied asked about the waning popularity of clash between the arch-rivals. (Pakistan must play fearless cricket against India, say ex-captains)
“We used to get tensed watching those matches on TV when we were young. There used to be plenty of action happening apart from cricket. It’s good it’s not happening nowadays. You don’t want to cross the line. If we want to promote the game in a right way, then we should play in right spirit,” he said.
“It’s great to know the expectations of the fans but we would like to win the World T20 Trophy. For that we need to start well and win tomorrow’s match. Boys will do well if they take one match at a time. But we are certainly looking forward to this game,” said Hafeez. (Read: India vs Pakistan clash to set ball rolling as Super 10 beckons)
With two thinking captains on either side, it will be unlikely to see Mohammed Shami giving a send-off to a Pakistani batsman like Venkatesh Prasad did to Aamer Sohail in Bangalore or Umar Akmal doing an impromptu spot-jump like Javed Miandad did imitating Kiran More in Sydney. (Pakistan players upbeat ahead of tournament opener against India)