ICC World Twenty20: India-Pakistan rivalry bigger than Ashes, says R Ashwin

first_imgIndian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin said his teammates would not feel the pressure of facing Pakistan in a must-win game in the ICC World Twenty20 at the Eden Gardens tomorrow. (Full World T20 Coverage | Points Tally )India, battling to stay alive in the tournament, after losing to New Zealand by 47 runs in their opening match in Nagpur on Tuesday, have to beat Pakistan in Kolkata. But it won’t be easy considering Pakistan’s superb form against Bangladesh, who were blown away by Shahid Afridi’s blistering knock and an incisive spell by Mohammad Amir.Several experts, including Sunil Gavaskar and Steve Waugh feel India would be under more pressure than Pakistan tomorrow but Ashwin said that would not be the case with his team. India also have to do some repair job on the net run rate, which could become crucial later on in the tournament.”I don’t see a lot of pressure. We play a lot of India-Pakistan games. We have to go and win first. The net run rate will fall in place,” Ashwin said on the eve of the marquee clash. (Raina-Malik bromance in spotlight )There has been a sensational build-up to this match with Pakistan first refusing to play in Dharamsala and then threatening a boycott unless the Indian government issued a public assurance of safety. There has been a clamour for tickets in Kolkata with angry fans demanding a seat in the house after the high-profile clash was shifted to their city at the last minute.”India-Pakistan rivalry is probably bigger than the Ashes (laughs). We’ve managed to keep the pressure away from us and that’s good,” Ashwin said of the usual India-Pakistan pre-match hype.advertisementIt will take a lot for India to bounce back from that defeat against the Black Caps. Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram said India do not have enough time to be in shock and believed they were professional enough to bounce back soon. Ashwin said India have the wherewithal to do just that.”If there’s any international team that can put a poor performance behind and move on, it is us,” he said.India did not train in full tilt. A few of their players, Suresh Raina, Ajinkya Rahane and Pawan Negi, attended the optional nets session while the others stayed away. Ashwin said it was important for the Indian players to think for themselves and focus on individual planning rather than cramming each other up with too many ideas.Ashwin said it was important to win every game left and drew parallels with the 2014 World T20, where India, after winning all their matches, lost the final against Sri Lanka. The wily off-spinner said that if India beat Pakistan tomorrow, they will once again be the team to watch out for in the remainer of this edition of the World T20.”We will be more dangerous than we were at the start of the tournament if we go through from here,” Ashwin said.last_img read more

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