Pakistani cricketers believe that they can add one more victory to their Champions Trophy tally against India if they go in with a positive attitude and deliver to the best of their capabilities on Sunday in Birmingham.
Both teams will open their 2017 campaign with the high-profile clash at Edgbaston, and left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir says cricket has changed since he last played against India in the 2009 Champions Trophy.
“To be honest, cricket has changed a bit [since 2009],” said Amir in a video released by the Pakistan Cricket Board. “At that time, only four fielders were allowed inside the circle, now you can have five fielders inside the circle. Also you have two new balls. So, cricket has changed since then.”
The 24-year-old added that the game has become much faster but English conditions will help the bowlers and Pakistan must deliver their best if they are to down India. “There is a lot of T20 cricket now so the game has become faster but English conditions assist fast-bowlers, especially in May and June. If we deliver our best, there are good chances [that we will beat India],” he said.
Champions Trophy unearths superstars: Malik
Shoaib Malik was the hero for Pakistan when they beat India in the 2009 Champions Trophy by 54 runs, scoring 128 off 126 balls, and the all-rounder unsurprisingly counts it as his favourite knock against India.
“My favourite innings against India is the one I played in the 2009 Champions Trophy which was hosted by South Africa,” he said. “Pakistan team performed really well in that tournament but we lost against New Zealand in the semi-final.”
The 35-year-old praised the tournament, saying that it has the ability to produce superstars. “The Champions Trophy is a great tournament; the best teams from around the world participate in it. The tournament allows you to go deep even if you lose one match. So, it’s a big event and if you perform in it you can become a superstar,” he said.
Pray Pakistan performs well against India: Yousuf
Mohammad Yousuf was the other player, apart from Malik, who came to Pakistan’s rescue in the 2004 and 2009 tournaments. His 81 not out in 2004 and 87 in 2009 proved to be the difference between both teams and the right-handed batsman says he was happy to contribute when the team needed him.
“I am thankful to the Almighty that he helped me score in both the innings and most importantly the team needed those runs,” reminisced Yousuf. “In 2004, the top-order got out early and I scored 81 not out and we won the match. I was also the man of the match. Then we played against India in 2009 in South Africa, Malik was the man of the match but we had again lost early wicket and my partnership with him was the key turning point. If you look at it, I rate both innings very highly because Pakistan won those matches.”
He continued: “I pray that Pakistan bowlers and batsmen perform well in the June 4 match against India.”
Windies wins will help Pakistan: Kamran
Pakistan, riding on the back of a series win against the West Indies in West Indies, will be looking to carry the winning momentum forward and wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal believes the team can benefit from the positive mindset that they bring into the tournament.
“Pakistan have rhythm on their side,” he said. “The West Indies tour was a success. They just need to go in with a positive mindset and they can beat India and any other team in the tournament.
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