iconimg Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Sourav Ganguly
September 16, 2012
It's just not another warm-up match. That's what an India-Pakistan game does to everyone. Since these two countries don't play each other often, the interest is huge. The players also know this.

India beat Sri Lanka in their warm-up match and maintained their dominance. They are a much better one-day side than their neighbours and recent performances have shown that.

India have dominated Pakistan in the last 12 years, something which was not there in the days of Javed Miandad, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Mudassar Nazar.

Staying calm
Pakistan always had the raw talent but India managed to beat them in the mind. They have stayed calm under pressure and have shown better presence of mind than the opposition.

In the recent past, Pakistan have panicked under pressure and showed lack of self-belief against India, something their predecessors had in abundance. They still possess a lot of talent but need a clever leader to harness that ability, something which Imran or Akram did as player and captain. Despite this, they will be a side to beat.

India go into the tournament a confident side. They were superb in the five-match series against Lanka last month and that will give them confidence.

Their win against the Kiwis in the Test series at home has also added steel to a young side which is going through a rebuilding stage.

India's performance in the previous two T20 World Cups, other than their win in South Africa, has not been good and they will try to make amends.

Familiar conditions
They will also enjoy the conditions in Colombo rather than that of England and Australia.

They have had success here in the last five years and will play well if they remain fit. India have a strong side as well. The likes of Sehwag, Gambhir, Virat, Raina, Yuvraj and Dhoni are power hitters and this is important in this format.

These players have the ability to win games on their own and if they stay in the right frame of mind they can tear apart any bowling attack.

It is important for Sehwag and Gambhir to give good starts and also come out of their poor form.

The young players are pushing him hard in this format and he needs to re-establish his dominance.

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The writer is a former India skipper.