The impending clash between arch-rivals India and Pakistan in the 2023 Asia Cup on September 2 has ignited immense anticipation among cricket enthusiasts. The potential for a trilogy of encounters between these cricketing giants looms large, provided they advance to the super fours and eventually reach the final. Amidst the electrifying backdrop of India-Pakistan contests, a momentous showdown is scheduled for October 14 in Ahmedabad during the ODI World Cup. This highly anticipated fixture marks Pakistan’s return to Indian soil since the 2016 T20 World Cup, although none of the current squad members have experienced playing in India.
Yet, the challenges of facing India on their home turf have not dampened Pakistan’s cricketing spirit. Recently, former cricketer Imam-ul-Haq made a bold declaration, underscoring Pakistan’s formidable potential in the upcoming World Cup. According to Imam, rival teams exhibit a palpable sense of “apprehension” when confronted with Pakistan’s prowess, particularly in the One Day International (ODI) format.
Pakistan boasts a formidable pace bowling lineup with the likes of Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, and Haris Rauf. The team also features prominent batters like captain Babar Azam, Imam-ul-Haq, and Fakhar Zaman, among others.
“I try to live in the present. I’m not thinking about that (World Cup) right now. Yes, in the back of my mind, I’m preparing for the World Cup. I know that people are well and truly scared of our one-day team, because we have achieved some great wins. We have a pattern that we follow. I believe our one-day team is particularly good,” Imam shared during a podcast conversation with YouTuber Daniyal Sheikh.
Imam further elaborated on Pakistan’s strengths, highlighting the blend of fast bowling and batting prowess. With players like Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, and Wasim Jr., along with skilled all-rounders Shadab and Nawaz, Imam expressed his confidence in the team’s well-defined roles and their ability to deliver under pressure.
“…I’m not saying that this is a team good because I’m a part of it. I would say this is a balanced team even if I wasn’t playing for them. But I believe there cannot be a better team than this. The players are confident, they know their roles. That’s why I’m emphasizing that the ODI team is better than the T20I team,” Imam emphasized.
Recently, Pakistan showcased a glimpse of their ODI strength in an encounter against Afghanistan. They bowled out Afghanistan for a mere 59 while defending a total of 202, with Haris Rauf clinching a fifer (5/18) and Shaheen Afridi contributing two wickets.
As cricket enthusiasts across the globe await the riveting clashes between India and Pakistan, the enduring allure of this historic rivalry continues to captivate fans and pundits alike.