Indo-Pak matches help ‘spread love and kindness’, says coach Saqlain

The pictures that were released from the ICC Academy in Dubai on Wednesday — including one which was a picture of Pakistan captain Babar Azam and Indian batting star Virat Kohli embracing with big smiling facesthe ebullient Saqlain.

Both teams which do not play cricket in bilateral matches against one another because of tensions between the neighbouring nations, will play on the very first occasion in over 10 months on Sunday in the Asia Cup opener.

Indian as well as Pakistani players interacting brought back Saqlain of his experiences at an Cricket All-Stars event in the United States seven years ago where the fans stitched the two countries flags.

“Few years ago I went to play the Cricket All-Stars and world cricket’s 25 big names were present there,” Saqlain spoke about in a press conference on Thursday.

“However there were there were only Pakistani and Indian supporters were in attendance to watch the games. The fans stitched both flags of the two countries. It proved that cricket isn’t just entertainment or sport It is a thing that brings people together.”

The former Pakistan captain claimed that it is normal to feel emotional when playing India but it was also a chance to spread a larger message.

“We do have emotions for our country when we play a match but the pictures that came out yesterday portrayed a positive image,” Saqlain said. Saqlain. “We try our best to give the message of kindness and love and that is why our players go to meet the Indian players and its vice-versa.”

Pakistan will be without speed forward Shaheen Shah Afridi, who is a left-arm player, after the forward was forced to withdraw because of knee injuries which he sustained during the recent tour towards Sri Lanka.

Speedy bowlers Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah — who has not yet ready to debut in the Twenty20 International debut — are Pakistan’s top options. Mohammad Hasnain, a pacer, is available to select when the latter returns following the fix of his bowling actions, which were declared illegal earlier in the year.

Saqlain did not seem to be concerned about doubts arising because of Shaheen’s absence. He claimed that the other participants from Pakistan’s Pakistan speed attack well-trained enough to manage the their responsibilities.

“All three [Shaheen, Haris and Naseem] have executed Pakistan’s requirements and plans very well since a long time,” he added.

“The captain, me as the head coach as well as the staff supporting them are completely confident in their abilities. I believe we should not be in doubt in this scenario.

“Shaheen clearly, leads the bowling, but she’s not in the lineup unfortunately. However, all three bowlers have the ability to, at any time at any given time, they could alter the course of play,” added the head coach. The coach was speaking hours before the fast-bowling all-rounder Mohammad Wasim was taken to the hospital to undergo an MRI scan following complaints of back pain.

The scorching heat of Dubai and the six teams participating in the principal phase of Asia Cup has also come to the forefront with temperatures rising above 40 ° Celsius. Saqlain believed that importance should not be attributed to the circumstances at the field.

“I think these are the requirements of professionalism and you can’t think too much about these things,” said the 45-year-old.

“[The players] have to adapt, cope, and adjust according to the plan and follow these plans.

“We aren’t soft and our team is expected to be strong. In addition, I don’t believe that the weather is too bad.”

ROHIT PLAYS DOWN HYPE

India is hoping to get revenge on their loss to Pakistan in the last T20 World Cup and go all the way to the continental tournament . Their Captain Rohit Sharma has also slowed down the excitement surrounding the game on Sunday.

“Everyone watches the game and it’s a high-pressure game without a doubt, but within the group we want to create a normal atmosphere,” said the player to Star Sports.

“We do not want to exaggerate the game to over the top. It’s essential to remind players who haven’t had the chance to play against Pakistan, or even played against them once or twice that this is just another opponent.”

Sharma was leader of the Indian team at the time they took home the Asia Cup in 2018. Kohli was captain for the entire time in the past, had previously given the event a pass, but the captain is now available this time.

India is not able to boast marquee pacers such as Jasprit Bumrah or Harshal Patel during the tournament.9

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