Rashid Latif has stated Pakistan's win in the last T20 World Cup dealt a severe blow to India and they are still recovering from it. He however dismissed it would play a role in their upcoming Asia Cup encounter, before discussing the rivalry's significance and the potential result of the match.
Fans could be treated to four potential clashes between India and Pakistan over the next three months courtesy of upcoming multi-national events. Even though the arch-rivals last had a bilateral series in 2012-13, the two sides meet regularly in ICC tournaments providing the fans with a spectacle. However, the last time the two teams battled was perhaps the most lopsided encounter in a long time in the cricketing history between the two nations to the joy of Pakistan fans.
India batted first in their opening match of the World T20 2021 and a batting collapse saw them end up with a subpar total of 151. The Men in Green cruised to the target with openers Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam both registering magnificent half-centuries to drive their team to a record-breaking 10-wicket victory. The result ultimately spelt disaster for India at the tournament as they were eliminated in the Super 12 stage itself, while Pakistan managed to proceed till the semi-final. Nevertheless, former wicket-keeper Rashid Latif reckons the memories of that match won't play much of a role when the two sides take the field for their Asia Cup clash on August 28 at the Dubai International Stadium.
“I don't think the World Cup would be in their (India's) mind. They are taking it series by series, it's worth noting that teams are changing with every series. Their focus will be on the Asia Cup. The loss against Pakistan caused a lot of damage to the Indian team, so they are trying to recover from it,” he said on his official YouTube channel ‘Caught Behind’.
The way the tournament's format is set up, the two sides are bound to meet again if they proceed to the Super 4 stage. Given the only other team in their initial pool would be a qualifier, the probability of that occurring is pretty high. If they then perform well in the second round-robin stage, a grand meeting in the final could await them. In less than two months' time, the teams are scheduled to play each other again in their opening encounter of the World T20 2022 in Australia on October 23 in a Super 12 fixture. India and Pakistan are ranked first and third respectively by ICC and will go into the tournaments as favourites.
“You can play as many series as you want, but the match between India and Pakistan remains very important. I believe the Indian team, the board, the management will pay significant attention to the match against Pakistan in the Asia Cup. They would want to win the Asia Cup, and if all the players are available for India, they can be favourites,” Latif expressed.
India holds the edge over Pakistan in these events, with seven victories over Pakistan's five in head-to-head encounters at Asia Cup. Similarly, last year's victory was Pakistan's first win over India at a World Cup and only their second triumph at an ICC event.
“The conditions in the UAE suit them. India will give their all in the game against Pakistan. They have dominated the clashes between both sides in the past 20 years, but Pakistan did win by 10 wickets in their last game. So the planning will go into it,” concluded Latif.