Champions Trophy Final: Excited Pakistan will attack India, vows Sarfraz Ahmed
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Champions Trophy Final: Excited Pakistan will attack India, vows Sarfraz Ahmed

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed believes only fearless cricket will unnerve defending champions India in the ICC Champions Trophy final on Sunday.

icc champions trophy 2017 Updated: Jun 17, 2017 21:25 IST
Soumitra Bose
Soumitra Bose
Hindustan Times, London
Champions Trophy 2017,Sarfraz Ahmed,India vs Pakistan
Sarfraz Ahmed will hold the key to Pakistan’s chances in their ICC Champions Trophy final against India at The Oval on Sunday. (Getty Images)

Unlike India captain Virat Kohli, Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed did not betray his emotions ahead of Sunday’s ICC Champions Trophy final at The Oval.

(Read | India calm, Pakistan excited for ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final)

While Kohli chose to be boring and refrained from hyping the mother of all battles, Sarfraz was candid in admitting that adrenaline was running high in the Pakistan dressing room

This will be the first time since 2007 that India and Pakistan will clash in the final of a major ICC event.

(Read | Champions Trophy: Virat Kohli says not intimidated, won’t be arrogant vs PAK)

In 2007, both sides had clashed in the final of the World T20 in Johannesburg and India had won by five runs. But this is an entire different team and as coach Mickey Arthur said, “does not know the fear of failure”.

Sarfraz’s new-found confidence stems from a clutch of youngsters who have come to the Pakistan party when the chips were down. Bowlers Hasan Ali, Rumman Raees, batsman Fakhar Zaman and bowling all-rounder Faheem Ashraf have give the team a new identity after the retirement of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan.

(Read | ICC Champions Trophy: How Pakistan can tame India, the giant prize-master)

“The way youngsters have performed in this tournament is really encouraging for us, they all have played an important role in bringing Pakistan to the final of this tournament,” said Sarfraz.

Arthur, who had called the Edgbaston defeat against India on June 4 as “shambolic,” has now changed his views about the team. The vastly experienced coach has made some strategic improvements too.

(Read | India v Pakistan, Champions Trophy final: ‘Sarfraz’s chance to create a legacy’)

“We’ve concentrated more this time on our own games, on our own game plans, as to where we want to go with the game. We dissected India a lot before the game at Edgbaston, and we’ve sort of backtracked a little bit on that now,” said Arthur.

“Tomorrow (Sunday) is going to be about us rather than the opposition, and we’ve made the focus us as a team,” he added.

(Read | ‘It’s India’s batting vs Pakistan’s bowling in ICC Champions Trophy final’)

Arthur said India’s biggest advantage was their spades of big-match temperament and exposure to pressure games.

“Let’s be under no illusion, India are a fantastic cricket team at the moment. They’re going in the right direction. They’re playing some brilliant cricket. But exposure to high-pressure situations is what India have had above Pakistan,” the coach said.

(Read | India vs Pakistan, ICC Champions Trophy Final: ‘PAK has nothing to lose’)

But Arthur believed Pakistan will be a different side on Sunday.

“We’re now moving forward. And the guys have played really well. And they’ve played exactly as I thought they would play because we’ve trained properly and trained well.”

The battlelines are clearly drawn.

First Published: Jun 17, 2017 21:20 IST