New Delhi, June 3: India-Pakistan cricket match is not just a game of cricket for the emotions of associated with this game just takes it to another level. Fans from both side would compromise with nothing but win as it becomes a matter of pride.
Losing against Pakistan in the ICC tournament would be more disheartening to the fans than losing a World Cup final against any rival country. Such is the intensity of cricketing rivalry between these two teams. (Prasad-Sohail epic clash on field)
Defending champions India will lock horns with arch-rivals Pakistan in their opening match of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 on Sunday (June 4).
The upcoming contest is already tipped to be the most anticipated and exciting game of tournament. The clash between Men In Blue and Men In Green will set new benchmarks in television ratings for it will certainly be the most watched match of the year.
The cricketers, however, claim to be unaffected by the pressure of playing against Pakistan for they take it just another game.
But, one cannot rule out the fact that carrying aspirations of a millions glued to the television screens and thousands present in the arena, praying for them to win against a country with whom we have fought four wars, would certainly affect the psyche of the players when they walk on the ground.
But unfortunately, the reports of rift between India captain Virat Kohli and head coach Anil Kumble is making headlines more than team's preparation ahead of the high-octane game.
Team's plans and strategy against Pakistan in the ICC Champions Trophy has somewhere taken a back seat amid controversy.
With reports of conflict between Kohli and Kumble getting murkier, there is question on everybody's lip whether team would be able to play to its potential in the most intriguing encounter of the tournament.
It would be better if this team keeps the controversies aside and focusses on the upcoming contest, which we are sure they must be trying to do. The role of team's coach Kumble becomes more important in a situation like this, for he has been a match-winner for India.
Kumble, India's leading wicket-taker in Tests, has performed exceptionally well against Pakistan in both the formats of the game.
The leg-spinner has picked up 81 wickets from 15 Tests against Pakistan and scalped 54 wickets from 34 ODIs against them.
He became only the second bowler in the history of Tests to scalp all ten wickets in an innings after he achieved this feat against the same opposition at Delhi's Feroz Shah Kotla ground in 1999.
Kumble was then playing only his second Test match against Pakistan, but his match-winning feat is still considered one of the most cherished moments of world cricket. There is smile on every cricket enthusiast's face whenever Kumble's 10-wicket-haul is being discussed.
The former India captain always had good show against arch-rivals and his vital talks and inputs to the Indian team would be of great value before Team India comes out to face Pakistan.
His experience and motivational words would definitely help the side and inspire them to perform better and win on Sunday. He has been a part of the dressing room thrice when India faced Pakistan in World Cups (1996, 1999 and 2003) and defeated them on all three occasions.
His inspirational words to the team and valuable tips to the bowlers, especially spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, would be very important for the side.
Since he has bowled a lot against Pakistan, Kumble understands the mindset of their batsmen and bowlers, his presence in the Indian team would just give them an edge.
Kumble has performed his duty as the coach of the Team India exceptionally well. Team has won all the campaigns ever since he was made coach of the side and if reports are to be believed then he may not ask for renewal of his contract as the coach after Champions Trophy.
In such a case, the legendary cricketer would just want to leave on a positive note and beating Pakistan in the Champions Trophy and eventually helping the team defend their title would be on his mind.