Exclusive | ICC CWC 2019: Pressure will be on India to win against Pakistan, says Asif Iqbal

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Debasis Sen, London:
Former Pakistan captain Asif Iqbal feels there will be more pressure on Virat Kohli and his team to win against arch-rivals Pakistan in the upcoming World Cup clash at Manchester. Talking exclusively to Xtra Time at his office in Cumberland Avenue in London, the former Pakistan captain shared his views on the following topics ahead of the mouth-watering clash at Old Trafford on June 16.

Pressure will be on India
According to the so-called pundits, India is odds on favorites but so was in the Champions Trophy and everyone knows what the result was. In one day cricket, it is the team that plays well on the day invariable ends up on the winning side. I think there will be more pressure on India than Pakistan considering they are the favorites. Pakistan, on the other hand, will feel confident that they had beaten India in the last clash here in England during the final of Champions Trophy final. India, on the other hand, has never lost against their arch-rivals in a World Cup. Both teams will know their strengths and their weaknesses going into the match. Whichever team will handle pressure well will deliver on the day.

Key factors that will decide the fate of the match
Number 1 is luck, that’s the most important one because winning the toss is in nobody’s hands. Secondly, both teams have a decent bowling attack but when it comes to batting, India is miles ahead. But Pakistan, as we all know, is an unpredictable side in world cricket.

Getting Virat and Rohit early will be key for Pakistan
I don’t think India just depends on Virat. There is no doubt that he is the best batsman in the world at the moment. But in a team sport, one man doesn’t carry the team. Rohit Sharma to me is perhaps the most unsung cricketer in the Indian batting line up. He is an exceptional player in One Day Cricket and to me he is the Number 1 in this format. Pakistan will love to see the back of these two batsmen as early as possible.

Md Amir will be the key for Pakistan
I will be very disappointed if he (Md. Amir) doesn’t play. But the fact is which I am sure not many people know, since his comeback no less than 30 catches were dropped off his bowling which is a huge number. So, he has been unlucky but I rate him very highly. I think he is Pakistan’s premier bowler. Even in the match against West Indies when Pakistan was bowled out for 105 runs, he was the only Pak bowler who made an impression. I think he will get good support from Wahab Riyaz, Hasan Ali. Being a Pakistani I would want my country to win but may the best team wins.

Bumrah and Indian bowling coming off age
Indian bowling has really come off age. Even five years ago no one would have thought that the Indian pace attack will be the best in the world. I think in the last two years they have taken the highest number of wickets.

Dhoni’s presence will give India an edge
The sheer presence of Dhoni behind the wickets will give India an edge over all the teams. Nobody can take away his contribution to Indian cricket. It is huge. He has done a great service to his country and every Indian should be proud of what he has achieved.

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