Saqlain Mushtaq, Pakistan’s interim head coach, would love it if his team got the opportunity to face India again in the final of the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.
Pakistan started their World Cup campaign with a thumping 10-wicket victory over arch-rivals India and then followed it by the resounding win against New Zealand by five wickets. Men in Green are currently unbeaten in the T20I WC, with a perfect two in two records at the showpiece.
Saqlain Mushtaq: One Doesn’t Think About Opponent While Coming With A Mindset To Become A World Champion
Saqlain Mushtaq played international cricket between 1995 and 2004. Saqlain Mushtaq, known for introducing the Doosra, in his first full year (1996) with the Pakistan team, established a record for the most ODI wickets in a calendar year (65).
He then did even better the following year, setting a mark (69) that still stands. His impact was so great that he became the fastest bowler in history in terms of time (one year and 225 days) to reach the landmark of 100 ODI wickets, and to this day, no one else has got there in less than two years.
“When you come with a mindset to become a world champion then you don’t think about the opponent.
“You rather think whoever comes in, you do what you have to do and want to do. So we are thinking on the same lines day in and day out that whoever is against us in the next stage we will accept it,” Saqlain Mushtaq said in a virtual press conference on Thursday.
“If you want to become a world champion then you have to live up to the requirements — being tough, being well-prepared, and playing cricket different from the others, and it shows that you are a genuine World Cup winner. If you want to be a world champion then you should be thoroughly [tested] so that the world actually recognizes you.”
On Friday, Pakistan will face a stiff test against one of the best spin attacks in the competition, featuring Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Mohammad Nabi. It’s not a test Pakistan has faced too often: they have met Afghanistan only once in T20Is, beating them with one ball to spare back in 2013, when Rashid Khan and Mujeeb ur Rahman were yet to make their debuts.
Saqlain Mushtaq: It Would Be Great If India Makes It To The Final Of The 2021 T20I WC Alongside Pakistan
Saqlain Mushtaq, Pakistan’s interim head coach, would love it if his team got the opportunity to face India again and beat them again in the T20 World Cup final. He also feels more meetings between the sides will only improve relations between the two neighbours.
“If India makes it to the final with us, it would be a great thing because I feel — and this is not because we became big-headed after beating them — but because they are a strong team, everyone considers them a favourite. England and Australia always play tough cricket too.”
“One doesn’t have results in their hand but what we have in hand is our process, how we plan, our commitment, how we fight and bounce back and things we can control so we don’t focus on results and the opponent. If India comes in the final, then it would be very good for the ICC, fans around the world, and for world cricket — everyone will enjoy it. They are our neighbouring country and playing one more match would only improve our relations,” he pointed.
“Hats off to Dhoni, Virat, Babar, Malik, Dahani, Rizwan, Imad, Hafeez — their picture of hugging and meeting each other after the Pak-India game has sent a strong message to the world about love,” the head coach of Pakistan added.
Pakistan next faces Afghanistan on Friday, followed by matches against Associate teams Namibia and Scotland. Afghanistan had demolished Scotland in their opener to give themselves a considerable net run rate boost and sit just under their neighbours on the points table.
Babar Azam stroked his way to 68 while his opening partner, Mohammad Rizwan, smashed 79 as the Indian bowlers struggled to contain the two batters. Earlier, Virat Kohli’s half-century helped India recover from a disastrous start and post 151/7 against Pakistan in Sunday’s ICC T20 World Cup match.