Pakistan desperate, India favourites says former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja

India have five points from three games, Pakistan have three from four

By Lokendra Pratap Sahi in Calcutta
  • Published 15.06.19, 4:30 AM
  • Updated 15.06.19, 4:30 AM
  • a min read
  •  
Ramiz Raja with Sarfaraz Ahmed (Reuters)

“It’s a desperate situation for Pakistan... From experience, I can say that this could actually bring the best out of Sarfaraz Ahmed and his team... India, however, would start favourites on Sunday.”

That’s the analysis Ramiz Raja, a former captain of Pakistan and a member of the 1992 World Cup-winning XI, offered ahead of the ongoing edition’s marquee match, at historic Old Trafford.

But, speaking to The Telegraph from Manchester on Friday evening, Ramiz cautioned: “Current form isn’t the be-all and end-all in such games. In the 2017 Champions Trophy, for example, India were convincing winners in the Group stage, yet Pakistan lifted themselves admirably in the final...

“India, mind you, had been favoured to retain the Trophy but that wasn’t to be. So, you can never predict.”

Ramiz added: “Players of both teams have to punch above their weight, they have to perform above their level...

“Be it Pakistan or India, the bar has to be raised. That’s the requirement of this great rivalry... A quick-fire 70 or a defining over or a critical run out... Anything could make the difference.”

Skill apart, what comes into play in a big way in such matches?

“Leadership for sure... Being positive... Extending periods of dominance... Above all, keeping it simple. If you try and overcomplicate, it’s not going to help,” Ramiz pointed out.

Perfectly good advice.

While India have five points from three games, Pakistan have three from four. Both teams have had one match washed out.

Postscript: Two years ago, in the Champions Trophy, India won big in the Group stage — 124 runs (D-L Method), but Pakistan were even bigger winners in the final: 180 runs. India, at one stage, had been reduced to 33 for three.