It’s cricket, not war, says Intikhab
CHANDIGARH: With the Pakistan-India semi-final being touted the ‘mother of all matches’ and the ‘final before the final,’ Intikhab Alam has reminded the media that it is just a cricket match after all.
Wary of the hype surrounding the match, the Pakistan manager reiterated that though fans in both countries have great emotions attached to the match, it is far from being a ‘war’ between the neighbours.
“Let it remain a cricket match and don’t make us feel like we are standing on a warfront,” Alam told reporters on Saturday.
Pakistan’s 1992 World Cup winning coach said the added hype will put unnecessary pressure on players ahead of the semi-final.
“Both teams cannot win and somebody has to lose but whichever team loses should lose gracefully.”
“We have to give a positive message,” Alam said indicating that cricket should emerge as a winner in the end.
Meanwhile, Pakistan held their first training session at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali on Saturday morning.
“We believe that we have the strongest bowling attack in the world at the moment,” Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez told reporters after the practice session.
“That is the key. Our bowling is our strength and our batsmen are just supporting them in whatever way is required.”
Pakistan have returned to India for the first time since 2007, and their manager underlined the need for an increased number of matches between the two countries.
“This is a blessing that we have come here to play cricket in India. This of course, is a special occasion, but I feel we should be playing more often.”
Cricketing ties between two countries were suspended in wake of Mumbai terror attacks in 2008. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has invited his Pakistani counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari to join him in watching match.