The world is eagerly waiting for the high-voltage clash between India and Pakistan in the upcoming Asia Cup on Sunday in Dubai. After having led India to a 3-0 ODI series victory over Zimbabwe,will be looking to show why the world rates him so highly. Rahul, who would be Rohit Sharma’s deputy in the upcoming subcontinental tournament, addressed a press conference on Friday, where he spoke about the team’s preparations and the challenge that lies ahead.
“For now, we all are very excited. As players and as an Indian cricket team, we always look forward to this India-Pakistan clash, we do not play against each other anywhere else, only in big tournaments. So it is always exciting and it is a great challenge for all of us to compete against a good team like Pakistan,” said Rahul during the press conference.
“There has been a huge history, there has always been a rivalry. The games have always been high-intensity so as players, we looking forward to playing this game,” he added.
This will be the first meeting between the two teams since Pakistan beat India by 10 wickets at the same venue in the 2021 T20 World Cup.
“Yes, obviously. Losing any game in a World Cup always hurts you a little bit. It was our first game of the World Cup last year and we were very excited. Any team that enters the World Cup wants to start well, but unfortunately, that did not happen for us,” Rahul said.
“Yes we get an opportunity to once again play against them, it is a contest we are all looking to and we all are eager to go out there. The game starts from zero, there might be history but it does not count for anything. It will always start from zero,” he said.
Although he said that history does not count in the matches, he accepted that the teams cannot “run from the rivalry and emotion” surrounding the matches between the two teams.
“We cannot run from the rivalry and emotion surrounding India-Pakistan games. We as youngsters have always looked forward to such clashes,” Rahul said.
“I have been a part of it a couple of times, once you cross the rope, it becomes a contest between bat and all. You see the opposition as opposition. You try to focus on yourself more than the opposition,” he went on to say.
“The vibe is great, everyone feels more than 100 per cent. Apart from that, I think we still remain players, we love this game, we play this sport. I have played against some Pakistan players in the U-19 World Cup so it is great to see that they are living their dream of playing for the country and we are living our dream of playing for our country.”
Pakistan were dealt a huge blow ahead of the Asia Cup in the form of star pacerbeing ruled out of the tournament.
The Indian players were seen chatting with the left-arm pacer ahead of the match.
“Shaheen Shah Afridi is a world-class bowler, he is a quality bowler. Left-arm seamers right now in world cricket are the most dangerous and they are causing problems for batters. If he would have played, it would have been a good experience for us. Unfortunately, he is injured,” Rahul said.
“As players, we have always battled injuries. It is a very frustrating time as a player, the frustration of missing games. Even he would have wanted to play this India-Pakistan game. You share your concern and experience. There was nothing more to it,” Rahul added.
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