IND vs PAK 2022: “Playing any game for India is important for me”

Team India skipper Rohit Sharma has downplayed the hype of leading the team against Pakistan in the T20 World Cup 2022 Super 12 match on Sunday, October 23. He stated that every match that he plays for India is equally important and he will treat the Pakistan game in the same manner.

The Men in Blue will kick off their T20 World Cup campaign by taking on their arch-rivals at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). The last time the two teams met at the World Cup – in Dubai in 2021 – Pakistan hammered Team India by 10 wickets.

Speaking ahead of the big game, Rohit admitted that captaining India at the World Cup means a lot to him. Asked specifically about leading against Pakistan, he said at a press conference on Saturday, October 22:

“Captaining is a big thing for me, but playing any game for India is important for me. Occasions keep changing. I have played the World Cup final once, against Pakistan in 2007. I have the played the Champions Trophy final when we won and when we lost as well. I know how important it is to play for India and everything that is associated with it.

“Obviously, I am captaining now, so that’s the icing on the cake for me. When we enter the ground tomorrow, I will not be thinking about all these things. I will be focused on how we can do well in the game, achieve the desired results and put the opposition under pressure.”

India have gone down in two of the last three meetings between the two teams. During the Asia Cup, India won the group match, but lost in the Super 4 game. Asked if recent losses will put the Men in Blue under additional pressure, Rohit responded:

“I do not want to use this word pressure. I would like to take this as challenge. This Pakistani team is a very challenging team. All the Pakistan teams I have played against from 2007 to 2022, they have been a good team. I just believe, on that particular day, if you are good enough, you will beat any opposition. Pakistan were good in the last World Cup, so they beat us.”

Elaborating on the mixed results in the Asia Cup, the 35-year-old admitted that Pakistan played well, adding that they (India) didn’t win the crucial games. Rohit stated:

“They were good in Asia Cup, we were good too. We won the first game, and they won the second one. Unfortunately, we were out of the Asia Cup, we did not win the important games. Look, they have been playing good cricket and you know their brand of cricket.

“Luckily, we got to play them twice in the Asia Cup, otherwise we don’t play them at all. So it is pretty hard to gauge what sort of mindset they come in with.”

Pakistan beat India by five wickets in the Asia Cup 2022 Super 4 match. The Men in Blue posted 181/7, but failed to defend the total.

“We know how good Pakistan’s bowling is” – Rohit Sharma

Opening up about Pakistan’s bowling, Rohit admitted that the Men in Green have a very good attack. He, however, was quick to add that India have experienced batters to tackle the same. The 35-year-old said:

“We know how good Pakistan’s bowling is. And our batting is also experienced. The environment gets lively when two competitors are up against each other. We know Pakistan’s bowling will challenge us. Our batters will also be ready.”

Rohit added:

“We have discussed how we need to bat and bowl against them. We need to do well in both departments. We cannot ignore fielding as well. It will also play a very important part.”

While there is plenty of hype around the India-Pakistan match, rain could play a spoilsport as the weather prediction is not too encouraging.

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Edited by Renin Wilben Albert

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