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'No bigger match-up than India vs Pakistan'

Last updated on: March 24, 2011 13:47 IST

'I don't mind an India-Pakistan match'


Bikash Mohapatra

It is a much-anticipated clash, if it materializes, that is.

But Pakistan has done its bit.

A comprehensive 10-wicket win over the West Indies -- on their national day -- ensured the former champions a berth in the first semi-final of the World Cup in Mohali on March 30.

They await the winner of the match between India and Australia. If India wins on Thursday, the wish of more than a billion fans will fulfilled.

However, Pakistan, having played their part, didn't seem too concerned about which team they play.

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"We have done well so far, we have no preference whatsoever," reasoned coach Waqar Younis.

"I am not worried regarding whom we play as long as we keep doing things right. We have to just concentrate on what we are doing," he added.

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On being pestered, the coach did reveal his preference to an extent.

"I don't know about the team, but I don't mind an India-Pakistan game," he admitted.

"According to me there's no bigger match-up in cricket," he added.

Image: Waqar Younis
Photographs: Getty Images

'Every team is beatable'

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Anticipating a tough last four clash though, Younis began contemplating going back to the drawing board.

"We will closely watch the match on Thursday and make the strategy accordingly," Waqar explained.

"There's a good six-seven day gap before that match (Mohali semi-final) takes place, so we have ample time to work out things," he added.

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The fact that Team India has the psychological advantage over Pakistan when it comes to the World Cup -- having won all the four encounters between the neighbours in the tournament since 1992, didn't bother Younis as much.

"Australia had also not been beaten in 35-odd games," he reasoned, palpably referring to his side's recent upset win over the three-time defending champions in Colombo.

"But we did manage to beat them and every team is beatable. Any team can win on a given day. Whosoever holds their nerves will come out on top,"  he stressed.

Image: Umar Akmal is congratulated by Aussie players after their match in Colombo
Photographs: Reuters
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'The pressure surrounding the team has got the best out of us'

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The fact that Team India would have the support of a partisan crowd should the match materialize also didn't bother the coach much.

"We will have a bit of support for sure," said Younis.

"Maybe, a few will come across the border, perhaps a few from Lahore," he continued, before admitting, "But definitely it won't be like the support we have enjoyed over here (in Dhaka),or, for that matter, in Sri Lanka."

The Pakistan coach did, however, express happiness about the manner in which his team put recent controversies behind and performed credibly on the field.

"We have been through a lot of ups and downs in recent times," reasoned Younis, adding, "And that has made us believe that we can do well in this World Cup.

"The pressure surrounding the team has got the best out of us."

Younis also took the opportunity to express his disappointment about an unfortunate scenario.

"No cricket matches being played in Pakistan is hurting," he admitted, adding, "So it is important we play well and people start believing again that we are a good cricketing nation.

"Then, hopefully, cricket matches will come back to Pakistan again."

Image: Pakistan cricket team
Photographs: Getty Images
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