With the much-anticipated India vs. Pakistan cricket clash just around the corner, the excitement is reaching a fever pitch among fans and players alike. Two cricketing legends, Anil Kumble and Dale Steyn, shared their exclusive insights shedding light on how both teams should prepare for this crucial match and how emotions can often outweigh a player’s performance.
Anil Kumble, speaking exclusively to ESPN Cricinfo, discussed the preparations leading up to the India vs. Pakistan game. He emphasized that while the preparations might be similar to any other match, the feeling of facing Pakistan in a World Cup encounter adds an extra layer of intensity. Kumble stated, “I think the preparations will be the same, it is just that on that particular day when you walk onto the field, you will certainly have that feeling of yes, we have to win this. The result matters, and it is India vs. Pakistan. India has always triumphed over Pakistan in World Cup matches. So that feeling is there, the nervousness is there for any game, but more so for an India-Pakistan game. Once the first ball is bowled, everything is back to normal.”
Dale Steyn contributed to the discussion by highlighting how emotions can potentially affect a player’s performance during high-stakes matches. He noted that the desire to be the ‘Man of the Match’ can sometimes lead players to overextend themselves. Steyn explained, “Yes, I mean it can take away from the way you normally play. You kind of think I am playing against this team, and I want to be a ‘Man of the Match,’ and end up doing more than you are required to, and that’s when you find guys trying too hard and that’s where you just kind of lose it. Whereas if I just come in, do what I have to do, just play my part, then everything will unfold,” he added.
Kumble also shared his insights on how Indian players should cope with their emotions and prepare for such a significant match. He emphasized that players should stick to their regular routines and not make drastic changes just because it’s India vs. Pakistan. He mentioned, “It is just doing the regular things that you would do preparing for any other match. You do not want to do things differently just because it is India-Pakistan.”
Considering the quick turnaround between matches, Kumble also suggested that the team could engage in light activities together, such as getting a feel of the ground or even enjoying a fun game. This approach would help manage the limited time between games effectively.
For some players, this match holds special significance as it is essentially a home game. Players like Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja, and Hardik Pandya hail from the region, making it a unique and emotional experience. Kumble concluded, “It is a special feeling to walk out there, and then do well for the country and the team across the line.”
The India-Pakistan clash is scheduled to take place at Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium on Saturday. This match follows two previous encounters between the arch-rivals during a victorious Asia Cup campaign. While one match was abandoned due to rain, India secured a resounding win in the next clash during the Super Four stage.
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.