“When it comes to India-Pakistan, it’s always a high-pressure game. People from both the countries are more pumped up than they are when it comes to a different opponent. So, that energy automatically passes on to the players as well. Even while growing up we used to hear ‘Pakistan aur India ka bada match hai’ (Pakistan versus India is a big match ), so this thought is always there in your mind when you are out on the field playing the match,” Pakistan left-arm seamer told TOI.
The 36-year-old from Rawalpindi was a part of the playing XI during the 2007 T20 World Cup and knows well the pressure of playing against India, particularly in a marquee tournament. But he acknowledges that the build-up and the pressure that comes along with facing India is also ‘the most entertaining aspect of it’. “And that is why the players look at it in a positive way and enjoy being a part of that contest. And when you are pumped up, you give your 100 percent and perform better,” he said.
ON ABSORBING PRESSURE
Are the team meetings any different when Pakistan take on India?
“Not really, but there is always advice from the management to keep a check on nerves. Nothing much changes when it comes to team meetings or briefings. But yes, somewhere at the back of your mind you know it’s a high-pressure game, so during the team discussion it is always mentioned ‘zayada pressure na lo’ (don’t take much pressure) and keep your nerves in check,” Tanvir shared from his experience in the Pakistan dressing room..”
UAE A KNOWN FIELD
Tanvir has sounded a warning to other teams, saying Pakistan should not be taken lightly.
“I don’t think Pakistan are underdogs. We have played enough cricket in the UAE and we are the ones who have played here the most. Players know the nature of pitches. I feel Pakistan is a strong contender to win the World Cup. In the context of India, people will say the lopsided win-loss ratio puts Pakistan on the back foot in the World Cup games, but I don’t think past performances matter much. I feel it will be a neck and neck competition. Indian players are fresh from playing the IPL, so they also know what to expect from the wicket. So it is all about absorbing the pressure,” Tanvir added.
PAKISTAN MIDDLE-ORDER ISN’T WEAK
Putting his weight behind Pakistan’s middle-order, Tanvir said the players have not got enough chances to prove themselves.
“On most occasions, the players in the middle-order have got to play a few overs where the demand is to go for the kill immediately or perish. This gives an impression that our middle-order is weak, which is not the case. But yes, Pakistan’s top-order is strong and the team is dependent on it,” he said.
ON GELLING WITH NEW COACHES
Pakistan have Mathew Hayden and Vernon Philander as their coaches who entered the system barely a month ago. The Pakistan bowler, who is an active player in leagues around the globe, feels gelling with the new coaching staff need not be a problem as franchise cricket has groomed the players to deal with such situations.
“I don’t think adjusting with the new coaches can be an issue. These days everyone plays league cricket and it teaches you how to adjust and adapt quickly with new people around. League cricket has brought a lot of flexibility, ‘issliye players naye set-up main jaldi adjust kar lete hain’ (that is why the players adjust easily to the new surroundings),” Tanvir signed off.