Former Indian opening batsman Virender Sehwag has said that the much-anticipated Group A encounter between arch-rivals India and Pakistan in the Asia Cup will be a great occasion for lovers of the game across the world and reiterated the enormity of it all by saying that this is not just another game of cricket.
Talking about the upcoming renewal in the neighbouring tussle, Sehwag in an interview with The Telegraph said, "It's easy to say treat the match as just another game, but an India vs Pakistan match is not another game. However, the intense rivalry notwithstanding, it's best to try and play normally. The mind needs to be clear."
"The format for this Asia Cup is such that India and Pakistan could play each other three times, if one includes the final... Usually, jo yeh contest jeeta, wo hi sikander hota hai." he added.
Having played and scored a lot of runs against Pakistan across all formats, Sehwag knows what it feels like to be a player involved in the most widely talked about match. He has gone through the pressure and the heat of it all.
Talking about how a player can wisely approach a match against Pakistan, Sehwag from his own experience said, "I'd be charged up because you don't want to finish on the losing side. I wanted to score or, at least, take a crucial catch or effect a match-influencing run out. Kuch kar dikhana rehta tha and it would be really tough to stay relaxed." he added, "Two things... Handling pressure better and, then, josh which can open many doors. Pressure becomes less when all XI perform, for each player has a role."
In Virat Kohli's absence, it is Rohit Sharma who has been given the responsibility to lead the side in the highly competitive tournament. While Rohit has been absolutely brilliant for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League over the years, Captaining India is a different cattle of fish.
This is where Sehwag gave his word of advice to Rohit by saying, "Rohit is a good leader and I have seen that when he captains India and, in the IPL, the Mumbai Indians... Be it, batsmen or bowlers, Rohit gives them confidence, which is the sign of a good leader."
India faces off Pakistan on Wednesday, September 19.