The final before the final? No, Virender Sehwag and Shoaib Akhtar don’t think the India vs Pakistan match in the World Cup should be described so, as they reviewed the marquee clash.
Akhtar, who got Virender Sehwag on his Youtube channel through a video conference, had an interesting way to introduce the Indian cricket star, “With us, is a special guest, match-winner who’d terrorise the fast bowlers and would also pull their legs. People think I have a great enmity with him, and we fight a lot. It's nothing like that. He is a very good friend, and a generous man."
The Indo vs Pak is often termed as the clash between India’s batting and Pakistan’s bowling and Sehwag completely agreed. He said from the time of Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Shoaib himself, Waqar Younis, and others it’s always been so.
When Akhtar asked if India’s top 3 wickets were most crucial and that things could go for a toss if Pakistan manage to make those crucial breakthroughs, Sehwag said it's just the case for India but all the teams.
The former Indian star batsmen also highlighted how every single batsman from the openers Rohit Sharma-Shikhar Dhawan, then Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya and MS Dhoni clicked, that turned out to be crucial for the team in the encounter against Australia.
As Akhtar told his former opponent that he didn’t agree with ‘Final before the final’ term, as the India vs Pakistan is often described as, Sehwag echoed, “This is definitely not the final before the final. But when have India and Pakistan played in the final of a World Cup? That’s why probably the media hype it as the ‘final before the final’.
"I’d want India and Pakistan to play in the final, like in the ICC Champions Trophy (2017), to watch such a final would something absolutely amazing. The finals tickets weren’t being sold earlier, but when it turned out to be India vs Pakistan, 100 pounds tickets were eventually sold for 1000 pounds. That’s the craze for India vs Pakistan.”
When the former Pakistani pacemen asked if there was pressure on India as ‘favourites’, Sehwag disagreed, “Probably after the Australia match, they’ve been termed as favourites. For me, the two favourite teams are England and Australia. That's because you won’t be able to beat them if you don’t put a fine effort for 100 overs, when you meet them in the semis or final."
India and Pakistan play at the Old Trafford in Manchester on Sunday, amid the threat of rain washing out the game again.