'Pressure on India in Pakistan match at World Cup'

New Delhi, Feb 4: India may have never lost to Pakistan in a World Cup but former spinner Venkatapathi Raju feels that being the defending champions the pressure will be on the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led team when it faces off against the arch-rivals in their opening game in Adelaide.

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"India have done better in the recent past as compared to Pakistan but being the defending champions and the fact that they have not lost a game against their arch-rivals in the ICC World Cup, I believe the pressure will be on us. Pakistan have nothing to lose, we have everything to gain," Raju, who is a development officer in the Asian Cricket Council, told PTI in an interview.

File photo of MS Dhoni (left) and Misbah-ul Haq (right)

Raju, who was part of the 1992 Indian side when Australia and New Zealand hosted the first coloured World Cup, said that the Men in Blue should kick-start their defence on a winning note on February 15.

"People are so used to seeing India win against Pakistan in a World Cup that the pressure automatically builds on us. But if you have to be a champion team then you have to come good in any situation and start on a winning note to take the momentum forward," he said.

Raju wants India to feature in the top-6 but predicts that sub-continent teams will have a tough time due to new ICC rules like field restrictions and power-plays - a definite new from the time Raju played cricket.

"There is a lot of difference between 1992 and now. Because at that time there were no boundary ropes, the restrictions were only four in the circle. Now there are five fielders inside the the 30-yard circle throughout, the power-plays, all these have come in. The biggest concern is the drop-in wickets and we don't know how they are going to behave," he said.

"India should feature in the final-four but I can't predict the top four, maybe top-six I can count. Teams like Australia and South Africa look like the two best sides because of their bowling and batting.

"New Zealand, India, Sri Lanka, are the ones who are also looking like featuring in the top-six, but sub-continent teams will really have to play good cricket to compete with the rest," he added.


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