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ICC Champions Trophy 2017: Azhar Mahmood says the India-Pakistan rivalry is bigger than the Ashes

The rivalry in Champions trophy stands at 2-2
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 17 Jun 2017, 12:25 IST
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What's the Story?

Former Pakistan all-rounder and current bowling coach of the side Azhar Mahmood has said that the India-Pakistan rivalry was bigger than the Ashes and added that they were looking to change the results when it comes to playing India in big tournaments.

“Definitely they have had an upper hand in ICC tournaments, but now things have changed and this is the time for us to change the script. It’s a massive game. India refused to play against us and now we’re playing in a bigger stage. It’s like Ashes, it’s bigger than Ashes.

“ In India v Pakistan, there’s never a dull game wherever you play. This is an ICC event final. It’s a big match and the expectation is high from both countries. It’s a dream one for the sponsors and broadcasters. It’s up to us how we take it and how we handle the pressure on the day. I think the boys can do it. We’ve got nothing to lose, their odds are higher than us, they’ve got more chance and everyone is talking about India, India,” he said on Friday.

In case you didn’t know...

While the overall head-to-head between the two teams reads 72-52 in favour of the Men In Green, India have always held the edge in big events, having never lost a single World Cup game since they first met in 1992.

The heart of the matter

Mahmood further added that a win for Pakistan on Sunday would not be an upset and it would be a great confidence booster for a young side, trying to revive the flagging limited-overs fortunes. He further felt that the ongoing competition was further proof that Pakistan had the potential to beat any side, but did not express total happiness at the unpredictable nature of the team.

He also said that the present bowling attack of Pakistan was the best he had worked with and reserved special praise for Hassan Ali, who is the leading wicket-taker in the competition so far.

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Extra Cover: ICC Champions Trophy 2017: Sarfraz Ahmed's uncle will support Team India in the final

What’s next?

In a crunch game like a major tournament final against arch-rivals India, it remains to be seen if the Pakistani bowlers can rise up to the occasion and deliver. In the Group game at Edgbaston, the bowlers bowled tight lines in the initial stages, but leaked runs at the end and that proved to be costly in the end.

Author’s take

This debate is actually one of the more underrated topics in world cricket. Both face-offs have seen some iconic encounters in the past and provide a sense of thrill whenever they happen, but the India-Pakistan rivalry does edge out the Ashes, not only because they have a history sportswise, but also otherwise.

Published 17 Jun 2017, 11:29 IST
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