We've a psychological advantage over Pakistan

Published: Saturday, February 8, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Cape Town: Admitting that the World Cup match against Pakistan would not be easy for the Indians, batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar said the players would be under additional pressure while playing against their archrivals in the March 1 encounter. "It is not going to be easy for us. Expectations are very high and so there is added pressure on our players. But we have a psychological advantage over Pakistan as we have beaten them thrice before in previous World Cup," said Tendulkar during a practice session of the team.

India has won all its three World Cup encounters against Pakistan - in 1992 (Sydney) and 1996 (Bangalore) and 1999 (Old Trafford). The game on March 1 at Centurion has been billed as the "match of the tournament" and is expected to be a tense affair as Pakistan would be looking forward to avenge for their previous losses. Tendulkar said Pakistan would be benefited from the experience of its players as 13 of the 15 members of the squad have prior experience of playing in World Cup.

In contrast, nine players of the Indian team are making their first appearance in the World Cup. "That should help them play as a unit." The master blaster, who is likely to play a key role in his side's prospects in the mega tournament, was hopeful of his team's success. "We have been performing well and have a balanced side," Tendulkar was quoted as saying by the Gulf News Website.

Talking about the wickets in South Africa, Tendulkar said he was expecting to see good tracks during the event. "The wickets may be similar to those in Australia, but for the World Cup I'm sure they would have made good tracks." And whether the Indians were equipped to play on these wickets, he said "from 1999, we've seen a lot of changes in the team. We have some very promising talent." A huge crowd had gathered at the gates of the Newlands Stadium to have a glimpse of Tendulkar.

Every poster or banner announcing the World Cup has the master batsman playing a drive off his front foot. "We want to see the tiny man who has had most of the deadly bowlers of the world in trouble, literally thrashing them all around," a cricket fan waiting at the Newlands gates was quoted as saying by the Website.

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