India may well look the better side on paper in their World Cup clash against Pakistan but they must not entertain thoughts of being the favourites, warned stalwarts Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar.
Ganguly said the Indian team perhaps made the mistake of taking Pakistan lightly in the 2017 Champions Trophy final and had to bite the dust.
“India needs to be very careful, don’t go into this game thinking they are the favourites. I think they did that the last time in 2017 in the ICC Champions Trophy finals, and Pakistan beat them hands down. It’s going to be a great game of cricket,” commented Ganguly as an expert for Star Sports ahead of the game.
Tendulkar also said that India cannot afford to take the traditional rivals lightly.
“Pakistan has always been unpredictable, and they are a dangerous side – so there is no way the Indian team is going to take them lightly. Every step that the Indian team takes forward, we would want to be 100% sure of what we are doing, and it is well thought and well planned,” he said.
The hype and interest an India-Pakistan cricket match generates is surreal and both Tendukar and Ganguly agreed that “it is more than just a cricket match”.
“People get a bit carried away, and excited with this game, so from that point of view it’s going to be a huge game in Manchester on Sunday. My first trip as a captain against Pakistan in 2003 – we had never won there before, but then we won both the Test Matches and One-Days. My memories of playing against Pakistan have been happy times for India,” said Ganguly.
Tendulkar also recalled the build up of that 2003 tour.
“A year before we played each other, people had started talking about that match. They said, come-what-may, you must win that game, after that whatever happens they really don’t care. I said, don’t think like that because players think differently,” said Tendulkar.