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WATCH | Emotions Give India-Pakistan Clashes Edge Over Others: Kumble

GK: The other thing is that sometimes some games come in a different environment to others. You mention '99 and the geopolitical environment because of Kargil was surcharged. In a similar way, there was an incident earlier on this year which has led to this game probably having that edge. Does that sort of thing creep into the minds of the players?

AK: I think there's always an edge when India play Pakistan. There's always the importance of the result for both teams. We've been on the good side of the result in all the World Cup matches. So that way, the pressure is more on Pakistan in a World Cup game rather than an Indian team. If you look back at the last few years that this Indian team has been playing, the quality of cricket they have been playing is marvellous. So, I don't see a reason why this current Indian team should feel the pressure of a match against Pakistan. So, there's always going to an edge. You bring in any political equation to this or the environment around that, but an India-Pakistan will always have the edge because of the simple matter that there are a lot more emotions riding on an India-Pakistan event.

GK: Can I actually jog your memory a little. Because you were a part of these occasions, you played in '96, '99 and '03. Was '99 different to the other two because of Kargil?

AK: No. For me I think '96 was a lot tougher because it was a quarter-final. It was being played at home, in Bengaluru in Chinnaswamy Stadium and we had to defend 280+ and there were three local bowlers who had to defend that target. So, there was a lot more pressure, you could feel that and the atmosphere was electric. I have never ever felt that kind of an atmosphere at the Chinnaswamy stadium when we played Pakistan. I can still remember that day and fortunately for us, we did exceptionally well and then beat Pakistan and went to the semi-finals of the world cup.

'99 was again, yes it was away, for the first time. I think we were playing outside of India, at least for me outside of India in a World Cup, my first World Cup outside of India. So, it was very special for me, we had to beat Pakistanis to be still in the competition because we had lost to Zimbabwe, we had lost to South Africa, we had lost to Australia, so it was important that we if at all there was a chance, there was an opportunity for us to be going to the next round, then we had to...

GK: So, everything that was going on back home wasn't creeping through to you guys?

AK: No, it was of course. You know you had that at the back of your mind but I don't think there's any, when you look back at '96, '99 and '03, I think every India-Pakistan was of equal importance.

GK: And for those of you who are watching this, '96 we often talk about Ajay Jadeja's innings, we know that Navjot Sidhu made runs in that game. A lot of things happened but guess who the highest wicket-taker was?

AK: Yeah, I got 3 wickets. Also, I started off our quick-fire partnership with Ajay Jadeja. I remember when I went into bat, Waqar Younis was bowling and Aamir Sohail was the captain. So, he brought in the field, he said let's not give him a single. So, he brought mid-off literally next to the bowler. So, I had an opportunity to go over the top. So, the first shot that i hit was over his head for a boundary and that probably was the reason that it catapulted Ajay Jadeja to come in and have that...

GK: The other aspect of this Anil is, obviously this has been spoken about over the years but I wonder what your perspective is. You often hear of the relationships between the sets of players. Is that impacted at because of the political situation, when there's talk of war, etc.? Does that impact how players respond to each other off the field and even on it?

AK: I think players coming from North of India, speaking Punjabi, speaking Hindi, it comes naturally to interact with Pakistan players in that language. So, they're a lot more comfortable in having a conversation whereas for me it was a bit of a challenge to hold a conversation in Hindi. But, you know, I think over the years I've had lots of conversations with a lot of Pakistan players and we've enjoyed those conversations on cricket. Whenever you meet any cricketer from Pakistan, you always have the same kind of discussions around cricket, around the game, around the families and they're all doing other things, commentary, some are into coaching.

Saqlain is into coaching, Mushy (Mushtaq Ahmed) is into coaching. Waqar and Wasim you keep bumping into in some commentary or the other. So, conversations are around the game and I don't see that changing at all. It's the same whether you're discussing it with an Australian cricketer that you've played with, an English cricketer you've played with or a Pakistan cricketer you've played with.

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