Imran Khan leaves for Kolkata to rally Pak­istan ahead of In­dia clash

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

Pak­istan's leg­endary cricketer Imran Khan left for In­dia on Fri­day to at­tend the 2016 World Twenty20's mar­quee clash be­tween the two sub-con­ti­nent gi­ants. A buoy­ant Pak­istan side will take on the hosts In­dia at the iconic Eden Gar­dens on March 19.But Khan, who would be ac­com­pa­ny­ing his once most trust­wor­thy striker Wasim Akram, will be much more than a spec­ta­tor.

He will be pro­vid­ing cap­tain Shahid Afridi with "ex­pe­ri­ence-based tips" to rally Pak­istan, who have a his­tory of un­der­per­form­ing against In­dia in big games. "Shahid Afridi had sought my ad­vice on Pak­istan's match against In­dia. I don't know what ex­actly Pak­istan team's grey ar­eas are, but I will try to give them sug­ges­tions in the light of my own ex­pe­ri­ence," Khan told re­porters at his Bani Gala res­i­dence."I'll sug­gest the play­ers against suc­cumb­ing to any pres­sure." Khan, 63, will also be meet­ing West Ben­gal Chief Min­is­ter Ma­mata Ban­er­jee dur­ing his stay. "Peo­ple-to-peo­ple con­tacts are nec­es­sary for bet­ter­ing the re­la­tions be­tween the two neigh­bours," he said, but added "the re­la­tions should be based on mu­tual re­spect". Mean­while, Pak­istan coach Waqar You­nis at­tempted to down­play the hype sur­round­ing the game, say­ing it was ul­ti­mately just a game of cricket."We should take it as a sport," said You­nis."There is his­tory be­tween the two na­tions, not only cul­tural- ly but also cricket his­tory. The way we have played cricket in the past 50 years it's a treat to watch for the world. It's the most watched game. So we should all cher­ish that and feel proud of it."

An up­beat Pak­istan come into the match af­ter thrash­ing Bangladesh, but will have to over­come their World Cup jinx against In­dia.Pak­istan have never won a World Cup en­counter against their arch ri­vals in six 50-over meet­ings and four T20 clashes."His­tory can al­ways be changed," said You­nis. "We are a bit more con­fi­dent this time. They can go out of the tour­na­ment and that is a big plus for us."They will be un­der more pres­sure. We have won our open­ing game and lot of things go­ing in our favour."

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