Growing up in the West Indies, our main rival was England, because of our historical background. But the India-Pakistan clash is on another level - it is simply amazing. When I was a player, I was very envious of the intensity that India-Pakistan matches generated.
Of course, there is a chance that the fixture could be affected by rain. All the stakeholders – the ICC, sponsors, spectators, and players – have been stung by rain disruptions in this World Cup. In a sport like tennis, when the rain stops, play begins. Cricket has to get to that point. You have to build stadiums in such a way that you are certain to get play after rain stops.
Everyone realises that cricket has become commercial - it is not about having tea and biscuits, and playing timeless Tests anymore. The ramifications of a washed-out or rain-affected India-Pakistan outing would be huge. You simply must have everything in place to ensure that every stakeholder is satisfied. In this regard, I think that the ICC have got it wrong, and they need to address the issue.
If rain stays away, my money is on India maintaining their winning World Cup record against Pakistan. India is strong in all departments. Jasprit Bumrah is the best limited-overs fast bowler in the world, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar is very good too. And then they have two brilliant spinners in Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav.
It's sad to see that Shikhar Dhawan is out with an injury. With him in the team, you had a strong No.4 in K.L Rahul. In my opinion, Rahul is the most technically-gifted batsman in the Indian team. In the event of a top-order collapse, Rahul can repair the damage. If the top-order clicks, you can move Hardik Pandya up to No.4 to get quick runs. The batting-order was perfectly placed before Dhawan’s injury.
Nevertheless, India has batting match-winners all the way down to No.7. If I’m in the opposition team meeting, I would say, “My gosh! India’s batting problems start only at No.8”. In most cases, it is the batsmen who turn out to be match-winners. If not, you can always count on the fantastic Indian bowling attack to defend any target. These are early days in the World Cup, but I am yet to see any weakness in the Indian team.
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