New Delhi: India's bid to retain the ICC World Cup trophy seems to have hit some road-blocks with an unsettled and untested squad. But still, failing to defend the title will be forgiven if India maintain their perfect record against Pakistan. If Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his boys fail in both the front, then India's campaign Down Under can be termed a complete failure.
Apart from an untested squad, which is heavily reliant on a couple of batting stars, India's chances this time become all the more fickle with the absence of Sachin Tendulkar. In such a scenario, title winning ambitions can be be put in the back-burner and instead focus in keeping the record intact, that of beating arch rivals Pakistan. A win over Pakistan, any other day, in any competition is as sweet as conquering the world for India.
However, if the Sachin factor is counted, it will be not to preposterous to assume that India will find it very difficult to maintain that record. India's complete dominance over Pakistan in the Cricket World Cup can be attributed the presence of calming and assuring presence of the greatest run scorer in the tournament.
But with the maestro's retirement in 2013, India's chances against their arch-rivals have somehow skewed towards an ambivalent fixture, wherein Pakistan will surely start a more confident opponent, if not as the favourites. In those previous five meetings, the Mumbaiker's presence in the Indian camp proved the difference, irrespective of how big or small his contributions to the team's cause.
When India lock horns with Pakistan on February 16 at the Adelaide Oval, the encounter will be without some of its sheen. For the millions of Indian fans, it will be the absence of their beloved Sachin and the lucky charm. And for Pakistan, their best chance to get the record straight and be counted.