KARACHI: Pakistan’s disgraced former captain Salman Butt wants the Sarfraz Ahmed-led side to enjoy the high octane Champions Trophy encounter against India and not to take any pressure when the two arch-rivals meet on Sunday at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham.
“The pressure in the game against India always makes players lose their concentration, but the players need to keep in mind that Pakistan have the superior head-to-head record against India,” Express Tribune quoted Butt as saying.
“They should not take any kind of pressure. Instead, they should just enjoy the game and play like they normally do. There is of course added pressure since the entire world is watching but they must know that all of Pakistan is behind them,” he added.
While Pakistan hold a 2-1 lead over their fierce rivals and neighbours in the Champions Trophy, it is India who have won 10 out of the 11 contests at the World Cup and World T20 tournaments between the two sides.
In recent times, however, the rivalry between the two cricketing giants has been one sided with India enjoying the lion’s share of positive results. However, the left-handed batsman Salman, who has five ODI centuries to his name in 21 games against India, feels a win against the Men in Blue would leave Pakistan players in good stead to qualify for the semi-finals.
“If they manage to get a good start by winning against India, then that will boost them mentally for their next matches,” he said.
“If you compare the teams, then the match against South Africa is actually the tougher one,” he added.
India won the last Champions Trophy in 2013 and head into the marquee event as favourites after a hugely successful home season with 10 Test wins.
The Men in Blue are number one in the Test rankings after series victories over New Zealand, England, Bangladesh and Australia, and would hope to carry that form into the Champions Trophy.