India-Pak need to handle pressure: Imran Khan

Kolkata, Mar 26 (Calcutta Tube / IBNS): Pakistani cricketing legend Imran Khan feels that the dew factor will play a crucial role in the crunch semi final match between arch rivals India and Pakistan at Mohali on Mar 30

“Dew and toss will play a crucial factor in the match if it turns out to be a close encounter, the team bowling second will have a huge disadvantage,” Imran Khan said, during a visit to Kolkata on Saturday to facilitate the winners of ‘Nokia Para Cricket III’ .

He said the team which will handle the pressure well on that particular day will have a better chance to win the crucial match.

“When a match has such high pressure things, tend to get tough. Pressure in that case plays a huge role and players have to rise to the occasion and deliver.” he said.

He said in tense matches where the expectations from renowned players are high, the high-profiled players tend to fail and new players emerge as the hero.

“More extreme the pressure, more great players become ordinary and new players emerge,” the legendary all rounder said.

“Pakistan players will think of winning the match. I feel that Indian players will be under more pressure than the Pakistani counterpart because of home conditions and the huge expectations from them,” he said.

Speaking on Indian teams performance, Imran Khan said that India has the best chance to win the World Cup this year as the team has been performing quite well for a long period of time.

“If ever India had a chance to win the World Cup then this is the best time, India’s recent performance and the track record has been good, I feel this is a golden opportunity for Indian team to win the cup,” he said.

“Favourites never win World Cup and home teams have never won the cup,” he added.

Khan said that Pakistani skipper Shahid Afridi who has failed with the willow in the World Cup can perform well with the bat in the important encounter against India.

Speaking on Indian skipper M.S. Dhoni’s performance as the captain, he said: “He is captaining the three forms of the game (Test, One Day International and T20) and that is his advantage and Afridi did a mistake by leaving Test captaincy.”

Sharing his thoughts on the semi-final match, Imran said that he would have taken a chance by picking up Pakistani pacer Shoaib Akhtar in the match if he is fit to play the game.

“Standard of fitness for Shoaib is crucial. If I was the captain I would have taken the chance,” he said.

He also said that the Pakistani best batsman should play up in the order rather than in the middle order to avoid the pressure of tense situation.

“Pakistani best batsmen are batting at fourth or fifth position, they should go up. If three early wickets fall the team will be under pressure situation. I feel that quality batsmen should not go down the order, I am against it. I feel that it will be killing if Pakistan chases a total,” the World Cup winning captain said.

“The pressure of playing the semi-final and the run rate will affect the Pakistani batting line up,” he said.

India and Pakistan will face each other at the crucial semi-final clash at Mohali on Mar 30.

Imran Khan
Reporting: Supriyo Hazra / Photos: Avishek Mitra

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