Indian captain Rohit Sharma downplays hype of Pakistan Asia Cup blockbuster

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India’s captain, Rohit Sharma, had downplayed the hype surrounding the Asia Cup blockbuster against Pakistan on a particular Saturday. He emphasized that their primary focus was on using the tournament to refine their preparations for the forthcoming home World Cup, scheduled for later that year.

The next chapter in cricket’s most emotionally charged rivalry unfolded in Pallekele, where the arch-rivals faced each other. Notably, India and Pakistan only encountered each other in multi-team events due to their strained political relations at that time.

Throughout the tournament, there was the possibility of them meeting on up to three separate occasions within two weeks, including the potential final on September 17th. Despite the intense rivalry, Rohit Sharma remained determined not to be swept away by emotions.

In a pre-match press conference held on Friday, the opener maintained a composed demeanor when addressing the topic of rivalry. He emphasized that, for their team, delving into such matters was not a priority.

Team India’s perspective at that time was clear – they prioritized their upcoming match and their performance over any other distractions. Rohit Sharma, speaking on behalf of the team, stressed that their focus should remain on the immediate opposition rather than dwelling on peripheral matters that wouldn’t contribute to their success.

The overarching goal for India during the six-team tournament that year was to prepare diligently for the upcoming home World Cup in October-November. They were eager to secure their first global title in over a decade, and this tournament assumed paramount importance as part of their preparations.

Rohit Sharma, at the time, succinctly expressed the team’s goals. He stated that their presence in the tournament aimed to fulfill several objectives. Their hope was that by the conclusion of the tournament, they would have successfully addressed those goals, thereby paving the way for the critical next phase leading up to the World Cup in the subsequent month and a half.

The impending match had the potential to evolve into a fierce contest, with India’s formidable batting lineup facing Pakistan’s fiery pace attack, notably led by Shaheen Afridi.

Acknowledging Pakistan’s prowess, Rohit had recognized their excellence as a cricketing side, highlighting their strong performances in recent years, whether in the T20 World Cup or the 50-overs format. Pakistan held the distinction of being the top-ranked one-day team globally at that time.

Becoming the top-ranked side in cricket wasn’t an overnight accomplishment; it required a tremendous amount of dedication and effort. Pakistan had earned their status as the number one team through consistent hard work and unity in their gameplay. Facing a team of their caliber presented a formidable challenge for India.

In preparation for the match, the Indian team had put in diligent work. Their focus was on translating their preparations into successful execution on the field the following day. The goal was clear: to perform at their best and carry out their game plans effectively against the formidable Pakistani team.

Muhammad Awais Raza is a student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Sociology at the Government College University (GCU). Awais can be contacted via email at He is also available on Twitter under the handle @Awais_raza512