Former Pakistan cricketer Mohammad Hafeez reckons that India’s body language was not the same after they lost to their arch-rivals in the T20 World Cup clash last year. The recently-retired cricketer opined, from experience, that a loss in an India-Pakistan match in a World Cup dents the confidence of the losing side badly.
Pakistan defeated India for the first time in a World Cup match last year in Dubai. Babar Azam’s men hammered the Men in Blue by 10 wickets in the T20 World Cup group stage clash.
In an interview with Sports Tak, Hafeez, who was part of Pakistan's playing XI for the historic match, said:
“The ICC usually has India vs Pakistan at the start of a World Cup for better engagement so that the event gets a boom. There is a lot of pressure on both teams and a loss in this match has a very bad impact on the team. After India lost to Pakistan this time, their body language was not the same. That is the amount of pressure players have to bear in an Indo-Pak encounter. And if you fail, things become very difficult.”
Pakistan sent India into bat after winning the toss and restricted their opponents to 151 for 7. Shaheen Shah Afridi dismissed Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul cheaply to set up the victory.
Mohammad Rizwan and skipper Azam then smashed unbeaten half-centuries. India went down to New Zealand by eight wickets in their next encounter and eventually failed to reach the knockouts of the T20 World Cup.
Ahead of the T20 World Cup, there were reports that Hafeez was considering retirement. Admitting he had thoughts of quitting, the 41-year-old explained that the desire to be part of a World Cup-winning outfit convinced him to delay retirement.
The all-rounder revealed:
“I was about to retire but I was pushing myself just to be part of the World Cup-winning squad. We were right there but unfortunately couldn’t win. It's not like I retired because we lost the World Cup. I have always played cricket with passion and I thought this was the best time for me to leave. I wanted to make my own decision and set a precedent for coming generations that retirement can be taken happily.”
Hafeez announced his retirement from international cricket earlier this month. He represented Pakistan in 392 international matches, scoring 12,780 runs and claiming 253 wickets.