KARACHI: Pakistan vs India, the mother of all games, is currently the most anticipated match. The high voltage encounter of the ICC T20 World Cup is set to be played tonight (Sunday).
Billions of cricket fans around the world will be glued to their TV screens or will be all ears to radio commentary for three hours from 7pm Pakistan Standard Time tonight.
The 22 representing the two arch rivals on the field will become the centre of attention, while the situation tests their nerves and gives them a chance to become heroes overnight.
From Shoaib Malik to Shaheen Shah Afridi and Mohammad Hafeez to Babar Azam, everyone has their eyes set on this encounter.
Shoaib Malik, Pakistan’s experienced all rounder, expressed his disappointment that both the teams only play in ICC events now.
Ahead of the India-Pakistan clash, Malik – in a video shared by the ICC – said that the game is a big opportunity for youngsters.
“I guess for a newcomer, it’s going to be a great opportunity. If you do well, you become a superstar. This is their best chance,” said the veteran all rounder who has played for Pakistan in parts of four different decades.
Young pace sensation Shaheen Afridi endorsed his senior’s views and agreed that this is going to be a big opportunity for everyone.
“The people of Pakistan and India all love this game and love to see them playing together. So, it is a big opportunity for everyone to become a hero,” said Shaheen, who wasn’t even born when Shoaib Malik had made his ODI debut.
Another senior player, Mohammad Hafeez, recalled his memories of playing against India.
Hafeez said that losing the T20 World Cup final to India at Johannesburg in 2007 was the lowest point, while beating India in the final of the ICC champions trophy was the highest point of his career among all India-Pakistan games.
Pakistan team’s bowling consultant, South African Vernon Philander, feels that the world comes to a standstill when these two teams, Pakistan and India, play against each other.
“When I touched down in Lahore two weeks ago, the first thing that popped up on the agenda was the India vs Pakistan match,” he said.
“ I think it’s an iconic match and I suppose you know the whole world will come to a standstill every time these two teams play,” Philander said.
But all rounder Imad Waseem feels that it is just another game of cricket – a game that carries additional pressure.
“To keep it really simple in our head, yes there is pressure from Pakistan back home, from both sides, not just one, but it’s just a cricket game with a lot of pressure,” said the young all rounder.
Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam said that no matter what opponent the team is facing, their aim is to give their 100% and try to give fans something to cheer about.
“We always try to give our best every time we play for the country, in any match,” he said.
“Every time we enter the field, its to win the game. Ups and down are part of the game, but as a player and as a captain, I try to give my 100% and take 100% from the team, give our best to win the match and make our fans happy,” Babar concluded.