Former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik has declared that his team’s Pool A match against old rivals India in the Champions Trophy will be the ‘match of the tournament’
Malik told reporters at the National Stadium here Tuesday night that no other game in the elite eight-nation contest will be able to match the intensity of the Pakistan-India clash.
“It is easily the most awaited match, both for the crowd and for the players because if you perform well and help your team win you become an instant hero, so players from both teams try to put up their best,” said the experienced all-rounder at the end of a strenuous training session.
Malik and other Pakistani cricketers are currently attending a Champions Trophy preparatory camp in Karachi and are due to leave for South Africa Thursday.
Malik, who was replaced by Younis Khan as Pakistan captain early this year, believes there will be no title favourites in the Champions Trophy to be played Sep 22-Oct 5.
“The Champions Trophy is more competitive than the World Cup and no team is favourite to win the title,” he said.
He said Pakistan will try its best to win its maiden Champions Trophy. Pakistan has never progressed beyond the semi-final stages in the biennial Champions Trophy since its inception in 1998. It is placed in Group A alongside defending champions Australia, India and the West Indies. Hosts South Africa, Sri Lanka, England and New Zealand are in Group B.
Malik said his team is first targeting a place in the last-four. “In the first phase a team needs to win at least two matches to progress to the semi-final, so you have to do your best in each match and that’s why this event is regarded as tougher than the World Cup,” said Malik.