"Don't mind losing to India if Pakistan win World Cup" - Inzamam-ul-Haq
Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq has said that the upcoming World Cup encounter between India and Pakistan on February 15 will be like a final before a final but added that he wouldn't mind if Pakistan lost to their arch-rivals as long as they eventually go on to win the World Cup.
"I think Indo-Pak match at start will be crucial. A final before final. But I don't mind losing to India if Pakistan win World Cup,” Inzamam said.
Talking about India’s hopes of retaining the World Cup title, Inzamam said that their poor performances in the recent tri-series, involving hosts Australia and England, will have very little bearing at the mega event.
"Let me tell you a story. In 1992, we went to Australia a month before World Cup. Not many know that we played six warm-up games prior to the World Cup and lost all six. [And] We went on to win the World Cup,” he observed.
The right-hander further said that reverse swing won't have as big an influence during the upcoming tournament as in the past, due to the use of two new balls from each end.
“Adjustment is always key and Indian team will enjoy the advantage. But I can tell you one thing: reverse swing won't be a factor with two new balls from both ends,” he added.
Having a captain like Dhoni will help India: Inzamam
He also said that India are fortunate to have a skipper of the ilk of MS Dhoni, who has had the invaluable experience of encountering pressure situations and rescuing the team from difficult scenarios.
"I believe having Dhoni as a leader is a big factor for the Indian team. An experienced captain in a big-ticket event is always a plus. Dhoni is one player who has performed for India in pressure situations and scripted innumerable comebacks for the team. Having a leader who knows how to handle pressure makes Dhoni cut above rest,” Inzamam, a veteran of 378 ODIs, concluded.