There is a lot of buzz around the India versus Pakistan clash in the upcoming ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023. The high-voltage encounter is scheduled to take place on October 14 at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad.
With two weeks remaining for the marquee fixture, legendary pacer Waqar Younis has opined that India hold an advantage over Pakistan heading into the World Cup because of the better preparation of the team led by Rohit Sharma.
Waqar’s observation is based on India's triumphant Asia Cup 2023 campaign, where they thrashed the arch-rivals by 228 runs in the Super 4 match in Colombo.
"As we all know, it (India vs Pakistan) will be the biggest game, mother of all the games. So, when you play in Ahmedabad, you will have to control your nerves, and not only Pakistan will be under pressure since it is a weaker team as compared to India.
"But India will also be under pressure because the crowd in the stadium will create pressure on both the teams," Waqar told Star Sports.
"However, if we judge purely based on the team's performance, India definitely will be a better team," he added.
Waqar Younis believes the absence of injured pacer Naseem Shah will be a big disadvantage for the 1992 World Cup winners.
"If I talk about Pakistan, they are a miss and hit this time. The absence of Naseem Shah will be a big disadvantage because Naseem and Shaheen (Afridi) used to complement each other with new ball."
"Though Hasan Ali has been declared as his replacement; he has got a lot of experience and gave brilliant performances in the past, but I feel, to suddenly come and perform on this kind of big stage will not be an easy task for him," he remarked.
Sharing his two cents on the Indian squad, Waqar said the team has great spinners while its bench strength is equally potent.
"If we only talk about ticking the boxes then we will see no other team can match India right now because they have good spinners, who are playing right now in the starting XI such as Kuldeep, Jadeja. But they also have strong bench strength," he stated.
Pakistan will open their World Cup campaign against the Netherlands in Hyderabad on October 6 while host India will begin their campaign against five-time champions Australia at Chepauk on October 8.