'Indo-Pak rivalry has mellowed down'

'Indo-Pak rivalry has mellowed down'

The India-Pakistan rivalry is still one of the fiercest in sporting field but without the tension of the past, admitted both Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Misbah-ul-Haq.

With the two sub-continental rivals set to face-off each other here on Saturday in a Champions Trophy match, both the captains agreed on the changing face of Indo-Pak contests.

“I think the India-Pakistan game is always a big game, doesn't really matter where you are playing,” Dhoni said. “If you see both the teams, if you compare it to the '80s or the early '90s, you can say it (the rivalry) has mellowed down a bit for the good of cricket. You don't really see the same kind of action when it comes to our verbal skills, which I feel is good. 

“And at the same time the intensity is still there. So I think it's very entertaining for the spectators, and also the fact that whenever you play at any neutral venue like England, you get good crowd. I still remember the warm-up game that we played in the 2009 World T20 here, it was a houseful game and we had an equal amount of support. I think it's an exciting game and spectators, especially from India and Pakistan, love to watch a game like this. I think it will be houseful again,” he elaborated. 

Misbah felt the interest in the match wasn’t lost because Pakistan has already crashed out of the tournament. “The match will still have the same significance,” he stressed. “If you look at the following the two countries have all over the world, it’s unmatched. I am not talking in terms of the ‘rivalry’ we usually talk about but there is so much passion and involvement among fans from both countries.

Unique atmosphere

“If you see in Birmingham or in the entire UK, there are so many Indians and Pakistanis and when they come to watch the match, there will be an atmosphere that is quite unique. You will realise that tomorrow,” he opined. Misbah also conceded that a win over India will gloss over their failure to progress in the tournament.

“To some extent I think it will because this game is very important for us. But disappointment will remain because every team wants to win a championship whenever you are there to participate. It's the second biggest tournament in the world, an ICC tournament, and you want to win these tournaments.

“But still I think it's a big game, so it will really matter if we can win that. Whenever we play each other it's like a final for everybody,” the Pakistan captain remarked.

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