Arguably the biggest cricketing contest in the world is set to unfold at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad as India and Pakistan square off in the Cricket World Cup 2023 on Saturday. Both teams are off to a bright start in the quadrennial event, winning two matches apiece. As the arch-rivals prepare for the mega event, Pakistan legend Shoaib Akhtar summed up what the contest means for the players. In a rather bold assessment, Akhtar declared that this match is ‘not for the faint-hearted’.
“If you are brave enough, you will enjoy the contest. If you are a coward…, this contest is not for the faint-hearted. This is a contest for people who want a big name for themselves, want themselves to be superstars,” Akhtar said in a chat on RevSportz.
The iconic fast bowler explained why Pakistan wouldn’t be in as much pressure to deliver as the Indian team. Sharing examples from personal stories, Akhtar said that painting the Indian team as favourites actually helps the Pakistan team.
“The last year I was in Dubai, I was doing a show with a channel. They painted everything blue and were talking about one thing, Team India is going to crush Pakistan. Who builds that sort of pressure? When you make us the underdogs, our pressure is over.
“What will we do now? We got nothing to lose. Pakistan is out their to help India get the biggest TRP because I believe India should create the biggest World Cup. This should be the most amazing World Cup,” he explained.
Akhtar went on to back Babar Azam’s men to beat India in their own home and emerge victorious from the World Cup.
“I also believe it would be easy for Pakistan to go there and beat India because it’s your TV right, your sponsorship, you are stuck, not us. Babar Azam & Co. should play aggressively and sensibly. It’s the Indian wickets, you’ll win. You beat India, play the final in Ahmedabad, I am with you,” Akhtar opined.
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