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WATCH | Hype Surrounding India-Pakistan Game Can Be Intimidating: Kumble

GK: Can you talk to us Anil, first of all, before we actually talk about this game a little bit, from the perspective of an Indian cricketer. We often hear in press conferences say, oh it's just another cricket game, we'd like to treat it as just another game. But now you're an ex-cricketer, is it just another game?

AK: It is just another game. It’s just that, you know, the things surrounding the match itself get so hyped up and it can be certainly intimidating for any player. But having said that, India-Pakistan always brings out the best in you as a player, as a team, you want to win the game, there's lot of talk before you go off on a World Cup campaign that aap kuch bhi kariye, Ind-Pakistan India jeetna hai, baaki sab joh bhi hai aap chod deejiye. (Whatever else happens, you have to beat Pakistan.) So, there is a lot of importance given to an India-Pakistan game and as a player, you're aware of it. So how much you can keep that out of your system when you're walking into the field will depend on each player. But as a team overall, yes there is some sort of pressure on India when they play Pakistan.

GK: In fact, Virat Kohli after the last game, made a reference to exactly this. He said some of us are used to this, we've played a bit against Pakistan, but for the guys who are experiencing this for the first time it might be intimidating. Is that something you share?

AK: It is. It is certainly intimidating for people who are coming in for the first time and especially in a World Cup. But if you look back at history, India has always beaten Pakistan in a World Cup game and this game is not going to be a knockout match. It's not a do or die. I mean it’s not like a semi-final or quarter-final where if you lose, you're out of the world cup. So, that's one thing you can look at in a way that you can then keep all of these distractions out as player. I’m sure some of the players will certainly feel the heat, feel the pressure of an India-Pakistan match. There will be not just blue there, there'll be green as well in Manchester. So, it's not like when India played Australia where you could only see blue everywhere. There will be Pakistan support as well in Manchester, we had that when we played Pakistan in Manchester in the same venue in 1999 when India played Pakistan, there was a lot of support for Pakistan and lot of support for India. Now, I think players are used to playing in these kind of marquee matches.

GK: There was a phase when India would play a lot against Pakistan. Obviously now this doesn't depend only on cricket relations, everything else comes in. The fact that they play quite infrequently now, does it add to the pressure of the occasion? 

AK: It could add to the pressure of the occasion and also if you look at the number of matches that we have played against Pakistan, there was an aura created around the players from Pakistan in terms of the quality, in terms of the skill, in terms of understanding each and every player in that line up. You don't see that anymore with the current Pakistan team. So that's the difference. To me, that's why it is not the same India-Pakistan rivalry that you spoke of in the past to this. I don't think you can equate those two.

GK: Perhaps legitimately, because the quality of that set of players was exceptional.

AK: It was exceptional and also there was a lot of pedigree as well in terms of the quality that they brought about. We looked at Wasim Akram, you had Javed Miandad, you had Salim Malik, you had Waqar Younis, you had Saeed Anwar, Inzamam Ul-Haq and you know the list is endless. Mushtaq Ahmed, Saqlain Mushtaq, you had all those players, it’s not the same when you think of Pakistan now so in that sense, the infrequency certainly helps in creating the hype and also the importance of this event and nothing takes away from an India-Pakistan clash.



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3 Australia 3244 116
4 India 3624 113
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3 New Zealand 6048 263
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