Friday, November 22, 2019

Posted at: Jun 16, 2019, 6:37 AM; last updated: Jun 16, 2019, 4:45 PM (IST)AT THE WORLD CUP

India vs Pak: It’s more about pride

Rohit Mahajan

Passions running high, people already arguing over the result, some shelling out upward of Rs 2 lakh for a ticket, the Manchester airport making room for private jets ferrying in the billionaire fans — yes, India vs Pakistan at the World Cup is upon us again.

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This is the big ticket match, the single most valuable game of this World Cup, a game on which ride millions of dollars in revenue. Emotion supersedes the dollars, though: The intense rivalry between the two nations, once one, makes this match more about emotion and pride than money. Some think there would be war sans the shooting tomorrow —- and maybe it’s good that modern ‘wars’ are conducted through sport. Virat Kohli, though, is keen to ignore the metaphors, to focus on self, his own team, rather than look at who they’re playing. Emotion must be subservient to planning, technique, reason, he says. “We’re not focusing on the opposition, so for us no one’s a threat,” Kohli said. “It’s about going into the park as the Indian cricket team and taking on whichever team is in front of us. If we play well, we can beat any side in the world.”

Kohli was remarkably controlled in his interaction with the media — he’s already played Pakistan two World Cups in a row and can perhaps contain, camouflage or even dissemble over his true feelings. But the façade did drop for a few seconds, he did reveal a moment of worry in a game against Pakistan back in 2009: “Tense moment was at Champions Trophy 2009, where Yuvi fractured a finger, and I was literally flown in and in two days’ time I was playing against Pakistan at Centurion. I hadn’t experienced anything like that before, and I played a very bad shot, and I couldn’t sleep until 6 in the morning. I was looking at the ceiling and thinking, that’s it, I’ve flown in, and now I’m finished. So that was the most tense moment I’ve experienced.”

That’s the exact feeling many other players will be experiencing tomorrow morning. It’s India vs Pakistan tomorrow — expect an electric game, but do also pray for the rain to stay away.


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