Team India is supposed to open its campaign in the T20 World Cup against Pakistan on October 24 in Sharjah. Former India opener Gautam Gambhir has highlighted the importance of playing the arch-rivals in the initial stages of the tournament. Speaking exclusively on STAR SPORTS SHOW GAME PLAN, Gambhir said, “In 2007 as well, when we went out to win the World Cup, our first game was against Scotland, which was washed out.
But then practically, our first game was against Pakistan. And that is exactly what I mentioned it is important to play Pakistan in the early stages of the tournament, because what happens is – you don’t want to keep thinking about Pakistan, you can finish it off initially and concentrate on the entire tournament, and it is exactly the same for the fans and the country as well. Irrespective of what the result is, I am really happy for both the countries that they are going to play against each other in the initial stages.”
Even though West Indies might be languishing in the rankings in T20Is, they certainly are the contenders for the trophy. But former Windies captain Darren Sammy said that the Caribbean team should be wary of Team India. “India is the team to beat. We have heard Dinesh Karthik talk about it – the experience, their T20 players come into the international cricket with, whether it is from India’s domestic T20 cricket or the IPL, you see all the countries go there and get the experience.
“Apart from the World Cup, I think this is, if not, the most pressure situation (tournament), where the players will be under and India has that formula. In 2016, when we left our homes, me, the coach and all the guys said – in order to win this tournament, you will have to go through India. Whatever stage it is, you will have to go through India, whether it is the final, the semi-final.
Though the condition in UAE might be foreign for India, but they would have the experience of IPL in the country, which would come in handy.
“Yes, it (the tournament) has shifted to the UAE, but don’t forget, before that, all the Indian players would have completed the IPL and got used to these conditions. It is not surprising to me that the Indian cricket board chose this place, at this time, to complete the IPL and it will also benefit the other teams. But you will have to go through India in any tournament. As you have seen in the last few ICC tournaments, whether it is the Test Championship or ODI, you will have to go through India in order to win.”