• Friday, March 06, 2015

'We were waiting for this moment'

Sakeb Subhan

While India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was of the opinion that the intensity in an India-Pakistan match had gone down among his generation of players, one got the feeling from Pakistan skipper Mohammad Hafeez's press conference that on the Pakistan side of the fence the stakes might be a bit higher.
"I think we all know we were waiting for this moment, and all the players are looking forward to this," said Hafeez in a press conference at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday. "We are happy that our first game is against India and we want to have a good show in this game, so we can kick off in this tournament."
A bone of contention in this most divisive of cricketing rivalries has been Pakistan's inability to beat India in World Cups, be it in the 50-over or 20-over format.
"Well as far as history is concerned we don't really look into it. We know that every day will give you the opportunity to do well," Hafeez responded to the touchy subject of their winless World Cup record.
Pakistan however have good recent memories to draw strength from. In the Asia Cup earlier this month, Shahid Afridi hit two almighty sixes in the last over to go one-up on their archrivals. And Afridi will be in focus today, because as the world knows an in-form Afridi is capable of earth-shattering deeds.
"He's in good form, and we have seen that in the Asia Cup. This is a good sign for us because we always want him to bat in the lower order and finish the game well for Pakistan," said Hafeez of his trump card.
Another area where Pakistan may have an edge over India is the presence of all-rounders in the side, a very important component for success in the shortest format.

"We have Afridi, Shoaib Malik, myself and Kamran Akmal as a wicketkeeper-batsman. So we are blessed to have that [all-rounders] in our team, and hopefully that will help us," Hafeez said.
When asked if Pakistan's greater recent experience of Bangladesh conditions would give them the edge, Hafeez's reply hinted at his eagerness to beat India fair and square. "Definitely it will help us, as we were here for the Asia Cup as well. At the same time, I think the Indian team has also got a similar sort of experience playing here in Bangladesh so I think both teams have got the same experience playing in these conditions, and everyone has to play well to win the game."

Published: 12:00 am Friday, March 21, 2014

Last modified: 3:31 am Friday, March 21, 2014

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