Karachi, Mar 17: Former Pakistan captains have urged their players to avoid confrontations on the field when they take on India in a much-awaited match of the Asia Cup cricket tournament in Mirpur on Sunday.
"Whenever Pakistan and India play against each other there is lot of tension and the atmosphere is electrifying and this naturally affects the people on both sides of the border. I would advise players to be very careful about how they behave on the field during the match," said former great Javed Miandad.
He said that any gesture or display of emotion can be taken negatively by the crowd, so the players must be very careful about their conduct on the field.
"Obviously it is going to be a tough encounter and both teams will want to win since they are playing for the first time since the 2011 World Cup semifinal. But emotions must be kept in check," Miandad said.
He pointed out that the conduct and body language of the players during the World Cup semifinal had gone a long way in improving relations between the two countries.
Miandad refused to make any predictions about the match, insisting that while India had a stronger batting line-up, Pakistan had the bowling to counter it.
"It should be an interesting match but in the end we must remember all the time it is just cricket and a sport and not war," he added.
Pakistan's former captain, Rashid Latif felt that such matches could go a long way in normalising bilateral cricket relations between Pakistan and India.
"People in both countries watch such matches with a lot of interest. I have seen when such high-tension matches are played even the people who normally don't follow cricket are glued to the happenings."
Latif said players of both teams must remember that how they play the match will have some impact on the overall relations between both nations.
"I just say keep all the tension and competition on the field... it must not spill over the boundary line. In the end we all want our team to win but this is cricket and anything can happen."
Latif was of the view that India would have to score in excess of 300 runs to stand a chance of winning the match as Bangladesh had exposed the weak links in their bowling on a flat pitch.
Another former captain, Moin Khan said he had always enjoyed playing against India as the competition used to be special.
"But otherwise our relations with the Indian players off the field were very good. I hope it is the same way today and even tomorrow. Tensions must not spill over the boundary line. Conduct of players on the field during the match will be watched very closely."