India vs Pakistan encounters even bigger than the World Cup for many fans: Shoaib Akhtar
Former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar has said that an encounter between India and Pakistan holds even more significance for many fans than the World Cup. Speaking at a conclave on Monday, the 39-year-old said that everyone is glued into the contest and the players in the middle have to put double the effort as compared to any other normal game.
"For many, it's bigger than World Cup. It completely locks out 1.3 billion people. The tension is unbearable and the players' effort level doubles,” Akhtar said.
Pakistan has never beaten India in a World Cup game ever since the two sides first met in the 1992 edition of the tournament. Akhtar was hopeful that the Pakistanis would be able to break that jinx when the two Asian giants clash in a marquee encounter at the Adelaide Oval on February 15.
"We could never beat India in World Cup but, God willing, that would soon happen," he added.
Loss to Pakistan would lead to dire consequences: Harbhajan
Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, meanwhile, who was part of the side that beat Pakistan by 29 runs in the semifinals of the 2011 World Cup, spoke about the tension that the players experience before such a massive game and added that prior to that fixture in Mohali, he couldn’t get a wink of sleep.
“The dressing room atmosphere is always tense. Much before the dressing room, you think about it in your hotel room. Before World Cup 2011 semifinal match in Mohali, I could not sleep the night before, thinking what if we lose,” he said.
He also said that defeat at the hands of their arch-rivals would mean that none of the cricketers would be spared, both by the media and the fans.
"A defeat against Pakistan means media would roast us and fans would pelt stones at our house,” the 34-year-old concluded.