Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed stated that his side would look to further the 2-1 lead that they have over India in the Champions Trophy, unlike the World Cup and World T20. Both the Asian giants are scheduled to be squared off on June 4 at Birmingham to get their campaign underway.
“We have a better record against India in the Champions Trophy, not in other competitions. We are looking to maintain that against them and it’s very exciting,” he told Indian Express.
Pakistan won a three-match ODI series against West Indies in April which Sarfraz termed as an incremental process of improvement and hoped that his side will continue on the same track.
“We have nothing to lose, we just want to play our natural game. We have just played a very good series in the West Indies, where the players performed very well. We are very hopeful of playing well in this tournament and we want to win it. It is a very exciting time for us, there have been a lot of practice sessions at Edgbaston and we are ready to play.
“Against the West Indies, we had a big fielding improvement, there were one or two dropped catches but it was an improvement so we are happy with that. We don’t see us as having a surprise element, we want to come here and play free cricket, starting against India. We are taking matches one by one and the Pakistan team is hopeful of building some confidence starting in the warm-up matches.”, he added.
Pakistan will take on the sixth-ranked Bangladesh in their warm-up game on Saturday and Sarfraz complemented their progress in the rankings ahead of cricketing giants Sri Lanka, West Indies and Pakistan itself.
“Over the past one-and-a-half years, Bangladesh has performed very well. The warm-up game is a good opportunity for both teams before the Champions Trophy. Both teams want to win so it’s a good practice match to have. Over the past few years, they’ve done well and we’ll see its batsmen, like Tamim Iqbal, if we play in the semi-finals,” he said.
Sarfraz Ahmed has led the Pakistani side on only four occasions before coming into the tournament and has been successful in winning three ties as the captain. He accepted that this would be his first major tournament as the captain.
“This is my first major tournament as captain, I’m definitely very hopeful and excited about the competition. My aim is to play my own game, to not play under pressure and to just play as I do in domestic cricket,” he said.
India or West Indies? Who will win?
WI hold a 60-53 H2H advantage over IND historically but in last 10 completed games between them , IND have won 7. IND has also won all last 5 games at this venue.