As the much-anticipated India-Pakistan clash looms in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, former Indian cricketer Sanjay Bangar has emphasized the unique allure of this rivalry, attributing its special status to the tremendous hype and excitement it generates among cricket enthusiasts worldwide.

The clash between these two cricketing giants is a momentous occasion, and the upcoming match at the Narendra Modi Stadium promises to be a spectacle that captures the hearts and attention of fans.

Speaking to Star Sports, Bangar stated, “See, it’s there in the back of every player’s mind as to how important a match it is. I’ve even seen and heard of the relief some of the greats of Indian cricket felt after the encounter against Pakistan…… But before the match, one player tries to downplay the match. The undertone in that situation is not to ignite the passion but to deflate their passion and little bit, and it’s done through the thoughts that the management and the captain are communicating to the team. They try to underplay the situation by discussing matters such as going over the basics and repeating the processes and the rest.”

“This is done so that the players are able to control their emotions in front of a 1 lakh odd people, and so that they don’t get swayed by the emotion, passion and excitement. Because at the end of the day, they have to bowl in the right areas and play a ball according to its merit. But it’s the hype and excitement built up around the game that makes it really special for the players as well,” he attached.

In addition to the excitement around the India-Pakistan fixture, Sanjay Bangar also lauded Rohit Sharma’s captaincy. Under Rohit’s leadership, the Indian cricket team has been thriving, and part of his success is attributed to his leadership style. He allows his players the freedom to express themselves and play their natural game to their fullest potential. This approach has proven effective, as India remains unbeaten in the tournament, with many players delivering exceptional performances.

“The biggest result to come from that is the team’s fear of losing diminishes, I am not talking about the team’s fear as a whole, but every player’s fear of not performing has diminished. If a player is hesitant to play his shots, then he will never be in a position to play according to his game plan. Rohit has encouraged them to play their shot, and told them at the most what’s going to happen is they are going to get out, nothing else. And if it’s a bowler the worst is probably, he’ll go for a few extra runs. That helps the players to develop a mindset where one can tame their fears, and helps them play their natural game,” Banger further stated.

One standout moment was Rohit Sharma’s remarkable form, as he etched his name in the record books by scoring the fastest ODI century for India in the World Cup during the recent match against Afghanistan. His batting prowess has been a key factor in India’s success, further fueling the excitement and hopes of Indian cricket fans. The India-Pakistan match is not just a cricket contest; it’s an event that transcends boundaries, ignites passions, and captivates the cricketing world.

“So, he gives them the advantage of believing in themselves, by giving them freedom and backing. If one does get out playing bad shots in a couple of matches, it does hurt. Two players come to mind as the biggest example for this, one is Virender Sehwag. When he used to play his shots, he looked fabulous, but he even got out playing unusual strokes. Rishabh Pant is also very similar. But these kinds of players, when they get going change the nature of the match. If that kind of mindset is developed amongst all players in the team, we’ll have not 2 or 3, but more than 5 match winners,” the former

India squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya (vc), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav.

Pakistan squad: Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Mohammad Rizwan, Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Salman Ali Agha, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Wasim.


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