Ahead of representing his country in coloured cricket for the first time before his home crowd, and, that, too, in the ongoing World Cup against traditional rivals Pakistan, India’s bowling spearhead Jasprit Bumrah said he backs his strengths and skills and doesn’t think much about the results. Speaking at a press conference ahead of the high-octane clash with Pakistan on Saturday, the tearaway said during India’s previous match against Afghanistan, the ball was coming really well on the bat from the very first over, which is why the pacers tried to hit hard lengths in a bid to induce batters into playing “difficult shots”.
The world’s largest cricket amphitheatre, the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, will present the perfect stage for the two nations to renew their cricketing rivalry on a weekend.
While the hosts would look to continue their unbeaten run in the quadrennial showpiece and, more importantly, hold on to their bragging rights of not losing to their arch-rivals in seven World Cup matches against them, Pakistan are eyeing their first victory against their neighbours in the tournament.
Both teams have made a strong start to the tournament, winning their previous two matches, which would make for an even more exciting contest come Saturday.
Speaking exclusively to Star Sports’ “Follow the Blues” show, Bumrah and ex-India cricketer former assistant coach, Sanjay Bangar, shared their thoughts on the big clash.
Sharing his excitement about playing in front of his home crowd for the first time in a World Cup, Bumrah said, “I just go with my preparation, I go with the process that I feel is right to read the wickets and try to find the best answers that work on those wickets. As simple as that. I am not thinking about the results, because I have got results (against Afghanistan). I try to back my strengths, read the wickets and try to give my best. See, obviously in this format you have to understand what is working. So some days there would be some swings, so your lengths would change but this wicket (against Afghanistan) was quite a batting deck that we realised early on as well when we started bowling.”
“There was a little bit of seam but the ball was coming on to the bat really well from the first over, so we realized that. So, we were just trying to hit the hard length, try to make it as difficult as possible and try to make them hit difficult shots. So that was the plan and probably we were trying to do that. I am a little detached person, I do not know what is going around in the world, so I just look at what I have to do on a particular day. Obviously, reading the game and my strengths that is what has worked for me in the past as well, keeping all of those things in mind, will keep going forward,” he added.
The bowling spearhead, who looks to be at his best since returning from a long injury lay-off, has already six wickets in the ongoing World Cup at an average of 13.71. His best bowling figures in this format are 5/59.
He is the second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament so far.
Bumrah said that the team didn’t put much thought into the net run rate before going into the match against Afghanistan.
“We were not looking at the net run rate from the beginning and we did not know that Rohit will give such a head start (against Afghanistan). So, obviously, I do not think there was any conversation this early in this tournament. But yeah, really happy with the way the game went and we finished it off early as well,” Bumrah said.
The cricketing rivalry between India and Pakistan is arguably the biggest and most fierce in the game alongside the Ashes, with the matches involving the traditional rivals drawing big crowds and driving global television viewership.
After registering back-to-back wins in the event so far, including one against five-time champions Australia, India will go into the Pakistan clash high on confidence.
The match will also see the bitter rivals renewing their cricketing slugfest after facing each other twice in the Asia Cup, which preceded the World Cup.
While the first clash between the arch-rivals at the Asia Cup, which was jointly hosted by Pakistan and Sri Lanka, was called off because of persistent rains, India registered a thumping win in the next clash during the Super Four stage.
India began their World Cup campaign with comprehensive wins over Australia and Afghanistan, while Pakistan also emerged victorious in their first two matches against the Netherlands and Sri Lanka.
Fans are counting on the likes of Virat Kohli, skipper Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, KL Rahul and Mohammed Siraj to come up with the goods again as the hosts go to battle against their bitter rivals.
India squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya (vc), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav.
Pakistan squad: Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Mohammad Rizwan, Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Salman Ali Agha, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Wasim.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by String Reveals staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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