''...you do not see many altercations on the field," Indian captain MS Dhoni said on the eve of the Super 10 opener with Pakistan at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium
The tension and the spite that once were a feature of India’s cricketing rivalry with Pakistan have begun to fade, M.S. Dhoni believes. There was still an edge to proceedings, the Indian captain insisted, but there was no unpleasantness on the pitch anymore.
“I feel it (the rivalry) has mellowed down to some extent; whatever the reason may be, you do not see many altercations on the field,” he said on the eve of the Super 10 opener with Pakistan at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium here.
“Growing up, I used to watch (India vs Pakistan) and it used to get quite tense. There were plenty of things happening apart from cricket on the field. We used to enjoy it as kids. I am glad that it doesn't really happen anymore.”
His counterpart Mohammad Hafeez offered a similar view when told that some Pakistani fans preferred beating India to winning the World T20. “Yes, India-Pakistan is always important, but this is not the whole tournament,” he said. “We want to put up a good show in the whole tournament.”
Both players dismissed Pakistan’s failure to defeat India in 50 and 20-over World Cups. “A lot of people talk about it, but it’s not really about the stats or what you have achieved in the past,” Dhoni felt.
“As far as history is concerned we don’t really look at it,” Hafeez said. “We know that every day will give you the opportunities to do well.”
Dhoni flagged India’s bowling as an area of concern, but felt the lack of international T20 experience among the quicks didn’t matter.
“Our fast bowlers have spent a lot of time in the IPL where the conditions are a bit similar,” he said.
“If we can get one-two wickets with the new ball, it will be good.”
While the India captain denied that the Asia Cup loss would have any bearing on this encounter, Hafeez was happy to talk up its effect.
“The way the momentum has shifted, it is a boost for our morale,” he said when asked about Afridi’s sixes off Ashwin. “I hope he repeats his heroics and pleases Pakistani fans again.”