Kolkata, March 27: Former Pakistani skipper-turned-politician Imran Khan has this advice for Team India players : take sleeping pills on Tuesday night to ward off pressure, reports Times Of India.Imran feels the hosts may well find things hotter than they would have liked.
“This match is all about pressure, and that factor tends to even out things. If means that the highly talented may not be able to perform well while players who aren't that gifted can rise to the occasion and play beyond themselves,” Imran pointed out on the sidelines of the ‘Nokia Para Cricket' programme here.
“Pressure is never more than in a World Cup, especially at the semifinal and final stages. Pakistan will feel it as also the pressure that an Indo-Pak encounter brings. India have the added burden of playing at home and going in as the favourites. My advice to them is to take sleeping pills the previous night. Sleep won't come that easily.”
Imran was quick to add that the hosts had in them to go all the way. “Obviously I want Pakistan to win but if India ever had a chance of winning the World Cup, it's this. Considering their recent form, and I'm talking about the runup to the Cup too, their balanced team, home conditions. It's not always that you get into such a position,” he said, but reminded: “Favourities hardly ever win the World Cup and the home team has never won. But, then, there's always a first time.”
Imran points to Pakistan's unpredictability as a danger to opponents.
“Shahid Afridi has failed with the bat so far but if he has one golden period of 10 overs it could make the difference between winning and losing. The Indian team is much more predictable; they are much more consistent,” he reminded.
“Pakistan bowling is superior but India's batting is better. It will depend on the killer instinct, on that ability to seize the opportunity when the opponent makes a mistake. Both teams have it.”The Pakistan spinners have had their way so far in the tournament but Imran prescribes pace for the semifinal.
“If there is one team that will play Pakistan's spinners well it is India,” he when asked whether he would have gone in with Shoaib Akhtar.
“Afridi is the best judge to take a call on Shoaib's fitness. If I were the captain I would have taken a chance with Shoaib.” He pines for Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir without quite naming them. “If those two fast bowlers who have been punished (for spotfixing), and rightly so, then it would have been Pakistan and not India who would've been favourites to win the World Cup,” he said.
The possibility of dew butting in is worrying Shahid Afridi, Imran informed.“I don't know what it would be like but it could make a huge difference. The toss would become crucially important; if it's a close run-chase then the team bowling second is at a huge disadvantage,” Imran said.
“Afridi spoke to me before going to Mohali and he was very concerned over the impact of the dew.” On the captaincy front, Imran suggested Dhoni is ahead “because he is skipper in all three formats”.