Virat Kohli’s Team India face a stern test in their defence of the ICC Champions Trophy as they clash against archrivals Pakistan in their opening encounter on June 4 at Edgbaston.
Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly is confident India will once again emerge triumphant over Pakistan.
History has been in India’s favour with the Men in Blue enjoying a 11-0 record against Pakistan in World Cups — 50 overs and T20 formats.
In the Champions Trophy though, Pakistan have a slightly better record with a 2-1 win-loss ratio against India.
Ganguly is confident India will again dominate Pakistan in their Champions Trophy encounter. “India will beat Pakistan again in Champions Trophy,” Ganguly was quoted as saying by India Today.
“In the last eight to 10 years there has been a massive difference in the quality between India and Pakistan and that has been one of the major reasons why India have continued to dominate Pakistan (in ICC events). I believe India will do it again in the Champions Trophy in Birmingham on June 4,” Ganguly added.
However, Pakistan’s chief selector Inzamam-ul Haq is optimistic that Pakistan led by Sarfraz Ahmed would do well this time.
“We don’t have a great record against India in major events but every day is a new day and I am sure the players will perform well in the first match. The June 4 game is very important for us, not only because it is against India, but also because it will go a long way in helping us qualify for the semi-finals. Our team is quite balanced and has a nice blend of youthful exuberance and experience,” Inzamam was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.
Ganguly felt the reason India have dominated Pakistan in ICC events is because of the quality of players.
“In early part of the 90s and even in early 2000s, it is just that India played better than Pakistan in world tournaments because there was not much difference between the two sides.
The Pakistan team was a fantastic unit then with the likes of Wasim (Akram), Waqar (Younis), Inzamam (ul-Haq), Saeed Anwar, Javed Miandad and Salim Malik.
“But 2005 onwards, the Pakistan team has not been the same as it used to be. They have lost to India on quality, they have lost to India on ability and somehow India have reacted to big match pressure much better than Pakistan.
“The technique and quality of Indian players have been better than Pakistan’s. You see, in Pakistan there is rare brilliance but every time they have been under pressure, they have tried to fight or hit their way out of pressure, which has not worked for them. But every time you see India under pressure, they are a team, which would seem have soaked in the pressure.
“They have batted and played difficult situations well and then have dominated,” said Ganguly.