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ICC Champions Trophy: Virat Kohli’s wicket would be key for Pakistan against favourites India, says Shahid Afridi

New Delhi: Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi has been in Virat Kohli and Sarfraz Ahmed’s positions many time in the past. He knows what it means to face your arch-rivals in a high-pressure clash.

An India-Pakistan cricket match is more than just a game, always. Emotions of more than a billion people are attached to it and players start to feel the heat even before the encounter gets underway.

The ICC Champions Trophy 2017 is being played in England and Team India will begin their campaign against Pakistan on Sunday at Edgbaston.

Afridi, in his exclusive column on, mentioned that he cannot wait to watch India and Pakistan lock horns in Birmingham.

“Everyone knows what kind of attention a match between the two teams always gets, especially in an ICC tournament. It is one of those matches in which every move is dissected and each performance from either side is discussed for years to come”, he wrote.

Comparing India and Pakistan’s recent performances, Afridi thinks that India is more likely to beat Pakistan in the upcoming clash.

“As a passionate Pakistan supporter, it’s natural that I would want my team to finish on the winning side against any team, and especially against India. However, recent history and the depth of the India squad gives it a slight edge heading into the game,” he asserted.

Afridi was all praises about India’s mighty batting order and Virat Kohli’s ability to tame any bowling attack in the world. He even mentioned that bowling to the Indian skipper was never easy and Kohli’s wicket will prove to be the difference between both sides.

“Led by Virat Kohli, the Indians possess a formidable batting line-up that can flay any bowling attack on its day. Kohli’s credentials as a top-order batsman are known to all and he has played some memorable innings in the ODI format. I have vivid memories of his sublime century against us in the 2012 Asia Cup, while he was at his absolute best in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 clash at Adelaide, laying the foundation of an Indian win with a masterful hundred.”

“For me, bowling to Kohli was always a challenge and Pakistani bowlers would have to be on top of their game against him. They must try and attack, especially when he is new at the crease. If Pakistan dismisses Kohli cheaply, it will significantly increase its chances of restricting India to a low score,” he wrote.

Shahid advised Pakistani bowlers to strike at regular intervals and put India under pressure early if they wish to win the game. He thinks that the presence of Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni provides immense strength to India’s batting order.

“To succeed against India, Pakistan’s bowlers would need to keep chipping away with wickets at regular intervals – you can’t afford to sit back since the likes of Yuvi and Dhoni are in the middle-order and the presence of the duo gives India real batting depth,” he added.

Afridi thinks that defending champions India are favourites to win Sunday’s clash, still, he will expect a committed and passionate performance from Pakistan.

“I’m hoping we all get to see another memorable contest that befits the India-Pakistan rivalry. Let the best team take the honours, and more importantly, let it be an entertaining and memorable battle that provides rich entertainment to billions around the world,” he concluded.

Source: Zee News