ABU DHABI: Ahead of the blockbuster India vs Pakistan match in the Asia Cup, Indian players spoke on the rivalry with Pakistan after their defeat in the last T20 World Cup in 2021.
India will start its Asia Cup title defence in a much-anticipated clash with the arch-rivals in Dubai on Sunday.
Indian skipper Rohit Sharma said what the team needs to achieve as a group is more important than the opposition.
“First game on (August) 28th. We will try to be in the present. Preparation-wise, we will not be short. We are not looking at the opposition at all. What we need to achieve as a group is more important than the opposition. We have to think of this as just another opposition who we want to beat and do well against. It is going to be challenging no doubt. We will have to be up for it,” said Rohit in a video posted by BCCI, which also featured other members of Team India in it.
Virat Kohli also said that as a player, it is like any other game for him.

“Of course, the environment outside can pull you in. But it is for you to enjoy and get excited about it till the time you get into the park. Then, it is usual business for you,” he added.
KL Rahul, India’s star batter who recently returned to the national side, said that it is a great chance for India to challenge itself and added that the current Pakistan team is really good and has played good cricket in the last couple years.
“It is a high-pressure game and will continue to be so,” he said.
Suryakumar Yadav said that while he has heard a lot of talks about the rivalry while growing up, it is just another game for him when he is on the field with his teammates.
“All our preparations and routines reflect on the ground. When I go on the ground, it stays the same. I just try to stay in my zone and play the game,” he added.

All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja admitted that there is a lot of focus on this game and the team, as players, tries to deliver good performances.
Wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant said that the atmosphere in these hyped-up matches is very interesting. “But as a player, we try only one thing, to give our 100 per cent. There is a lot of pressure and expectations,” he added.
All-rounder Hardik Pandya said that the hype generated by fans for the India-Pakistan clash is understandable given the emotions that people have for the sport and this rivalry. “But for us, we have to ensure that we keep outside noise away from us and focus on what we need to be focusing on,” he said.

The last time these two met was during the ICC T20 World Cup in October 2021, in which India suffered a humiliating ten-wicket defeat. Left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi destroyed the Indian top order with two quick strikes. Contributions from the then skipper Virat Kohli (57) and Rishabh Pant (39) took India to 151/7, but knocks from Mohammed Rizwan (79*) and Pakistani skipper Babar Azam (68*) meant that the Men in Blue succumbed to a shocking defeat.
India will look forward to putting up a big fight this time around. They have been in fantastic form as of late, having defeated England and West Indies in their respective territories in ODI and T20I series. They are also the number one side in T20Is. Pakistan are third in the ICC T20I rankings.

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