India vs Pakistan might be a mother of all clashes, but it does take a toll on the players who not only have to perform on the field, but will also have to face the heat on social media in case they flop. Players from both sides have acknowledged over the years that they do enjoy the rivalry, and there is no option but to embrace it. On Friday night, KL Rahul too concurred with this worldview when he was asked the same question during the press conference.
“We can’t run away from the rivalry between the two teams (India vs Pakistan) and the emotion which is there comes out anyway. And as a player, you can’t run away or shy away from it. As a youngster, I always wanted to be part of it. Once you cross the rope, it’s just between bat and ball. You just see the opposition as opposition and you try to be as best as possible. And I am sure it must be the same for the players of either side.”
Walking the talk, India captain Rohit Sharma met Pakistan counterpart at the sidelines of ICC Academy where both teams are practicing. The duo was engaged in a candid chat where Babar Azam was seen blushing a multiple times. This is not the first such meeting between Pak and India players. Earlier video of Shaheen Shah Afridi meeting Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul went viral on the internet.
Coming back to the all-important India vs Pakistan clash, KL Rahul is ready to “challenge himself” as a batter and pounce on a quality Pakistan side in India’s Asia Cup opener in his bid to exact the revenge of the humiliation suffered during T20 World Cup last year.
In the Asia Cup, both the teams squared up against each other 14 times and it is India that have an advantage, winning eight, while Pakistan managed to win five.
And on Sunday, the stage is set for the Rohit Sharma-led Indian side to extend the lead.
“We are all very excited. As players, we always look forward to this India-Pakistan clash in big tournaments. It’s a great challenge for all of us to compete against a good team,” Rahul said.
“Just like the fans, we also cannot run away the emotions that come naturally during these matches. As youngsters, we always looked forward to play such games.”
But once the game starts, one forgets everything and focus is on the next ball.
“I have been part of such matches since 2019. Once you cross the rope, it becomes the game of bat and ball. You see the opposition as an opposition and try to be your best on that particular day and focus on your own self more than the opposition. That’s what we will do once again,” he added