In the 2023 Asia Cup’s Super 4, Team India is gearing up for a highly anticipated clash against Pakistan this Sunday. The two teams previously faced each other in the group stage, but the match ended inconclusively due to rain disrupting the second innings in Pallekele. Initially, the Pakistan pacers caused a stir in the Indian top-order, leaving the side reeling at 66/4. However, Hardik Pandya’s resilient 87 and Ishan Kishan’s impressive 82 rescued the team from early trouble, ultimately helping them reach a total of 266. Among Pakistan’s bowlers, star pacer Shaheen Afridi stood out with an excellent performance, claiming remarkable figures of 4/35. Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah also stood out with excellent performances, as India’s struggles against the Pakistan pace trio continued.
Many have since dissected India batters’ approach against the trio; captain Rohit Sharma played with a more open than usual stance against Shaheen, hinting that he had been particularly preparing for the bowler. Shubman Gill, who faced Pakistan for the first time in his career, also looked all at sea as he was consistently beaten by vicious swing and pace from the pacers. Virat Kohli, meanwhile, was done in by Shaheen again, as a thick inside set ricocheted towards stumps.
As the Indian batters prepare to take on Shaheen, Naseem, and Rauf for a rematch in the Asia Cup, former Pakistan spinner Mushtaq Ahmed noted a certain trend among some of the star India players. Mushtaq believes that Rohit and Kohli have been paying too much attention on the Pakistan pacers, which is not beneficial for their mindset when they take to the field against the side.
“When, as a leader, you talk in your group or talk to media, you show your eye contact. Little things mean a lot. Whenever there’s presser, when you talk about opposition too much, praise them too much, the youngsters do feel, ‘they are good. they are better’,” Mushtaq said on Samaa TV.
“It’s a skill game, but it’s also a game of mindset. India have great players but I’m sorry, they are praising Pakistan too much. And it’s a good sign for us. Virat and Rohit, they’re talking too much about Shaheen, Nasem, Babar Azam. And it’s good for us,” said the former spinner further.
Rain to frustrate again?
There are high chances of rain disrupting proceedings in the match between India and Pakistan on Sunday. Earlier this week, the Asian Cricket Council had announced a rather controversial decision to allocate a reserve day for the Ind-Pak fixture in Super 4; however, there are high rain predictions on Monday too.