Indo-Pak match is always a big thing

Last Updated: Mar 25, 2011, 11:28 AM IST

Former captain Imran Khan wants Pakistan and India to clash in the semifinal of the cricket World Cup.

Speaking exclusively on the "Geo Super" channel after Pakistan beat the West Indies in the quarter finals in Dhaka, he said that an Indo-Pak World Cup match is always big.

Imran, who led Pakistan to the 1992 World Cup title, said he wanted to see a Indo-Pak semi final because this would go in favour of the Pakistan team. "I think because of the home crowd pressure and the fear of losing to Pakistan at home, there will be far greater pressure on India while Pakistan remain the under-dogs of the tournament," he noted.

Imran, however cautioned the Pakistani people to not over-celebrate the quarter final victory and see the win in the proper perspective.

"Remember India play the spinners very well perhaps they are the best players of spin today. We should think about attacking them with a stronger pace attack maybe even bring back Shoaib Akhtar for the match," the former captain said.

He pointed out that if Shoaib was match fit and if conditions in Mohali were better for the pace bowlers then he would take a chance with the veteran fast bowler. "He has not played in the last few matches but he remains a match-winner and perhaps knowing that this is his final appearance for Pakistan he could turn in a match-winning performance, I would take the gamble."

Imran also supported the decision to play off-spinner, Saeed Ajmal against the West Indies noting the strategy had worked well. "But I still say go in with more attacking option s and I would still like to see Younis Khan and Misbah batting up the order because in a high pressure match you need your best players to hold the fort and sustain the pressure." Imran didn`t feel that if Pakistan and India played in the semi final it would have any adverse effect on relations.

"Yes an Indo-Pak match is always a big thing specially if it is a world cup semi final but I think in the end it is cricket and sports and that is the way it should be looked at," he said.

PTI