After India registered a thumping 243-run victory against South Africa on Sunday for their eighth win on the trot, the hosts seem unstoppable in the tournament.
During a discussion on ‘A Sports’, Pakistan’s bowling legend Wasim Akram said that every team in the World Cup must be thinking the same question at the moment.”I think every team in the World Cup must be exactly thinking the same thing right now, including New Zealand, South Africa, and Pakistan, whoever will play them in the semi-finals. They are looking very good,” Akram said candidly.
Akram then acknowledged the planning which underwent to make this Indian team in the run-up to the mega event.
“Yeh sirf is World Cup se nahi huwa. Yeh planning saal-dher saal se ho rahi hein unki. Main player, jab choti teams aati hai…jab Australia ki jo series huwi thi Asia Cup ke fauran baad, usme main player nahi kheley the. Suryakumar, jo inko rakhna tha squad me unko khilaya. Yeh planning se hota hain. Aise hi kuch nahi hota [This didn’t happen only in the World Cup. The planning is going on for 1-1.5 years. When the Australia series happened just after the Asia Cup, they didn’t field main players. They played Suryakumar Yadav, who was going to be in the final squad. This happens with planning. It can’t be just like that],” Akram added.
Former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq explained how other teams have to work on mental aspects to face India.
“Sabse pahle toh mentally aapne battle se nikalna hai. Unhone pahle hi itni achi cricket khelke itna pressure har team ko kar diya hain ki..more than 50% battle toh woh pahle hi jeetey hote hain. Sabse pahle kisi bhi team to unhe tough time dena hai toh pahle mentally isse nikaley ki hum achcha khelengey aur jeetengey [They have played so much good cricket that opponents are already under pressure. They have won 50% of the battle before the start. Opponents have to mentally well prepared and play India with the mindset that they will play good cricket and win the game],” Misbah said.
Misbah and Shoaib Malik, another former Pakistan skipper, agreed that at this stage only Australia looked capable of giving India a tough time.
“I think only Australia will give a tough time to India,” Malik said.
Misbah further added that the pressure at knock-out stages will give opponents an outside chance against this Indian side.
“Jo bhi ho jaaye, ek cheez toh confirm hain. Yeh group stage hain, and when they go into the knock-out stages, jitni team achcha khel rahi hoti hain, favourite hoti hain, utna hi pressure aap pe jyada aata hain. Once koi bhi team aapko under pressure ek-do baar karengi, then they have a lot to lose [This is the group stage, and when the knock-out stages starts, the team playing well and is favourite, comes under a lot of pressure. When opponents start putting them under pressure, then they have a lot to lose],” Misbah said.
Cricket World Cup 2023: India crush South Africa by 243 runs, extend winning streak to eight matches in ODI World Cup
To which, Malik countered by saying, “Pressure ko sabse jyada achha deal bhi yahi karte hain.”
Misbah again agreed to Malik but still added that it will give an outside chance to other teams.
“They deal pressure well, but it gave an outside chance to the other teams also,” Misbah concluded.
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