Virat Kohli expects Pakistani fans to support India in World Cup 2019 tie vs England
A win against India will see England dethrone the Sarfraz Ahmed-led side from the fourth spot in the points table from which only the top four sides will make it to the semi-finals.
While India are all set to take on England in the 38th match of the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup, skipper Virat Kohli is expecting the fans of their arch-rivals Pakistan to support the Men in Blue in their clash against the Eoin Morgan-led side at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham on Sunday.
Speaking after losing the toss and asked to bowl first against England, the Indian skipper said that his side would have opted to bat first had they won the toss while adding that he is quite confident that the Pakistan fans would be backing his side today.
Kohli further confirmed that Vijay Shankar has a bit of a toe niggle and therefore, they have roped in Rishabh Pant in his place.
"Never a problem, love chasing. But honestly, would have batted first as well. We haven't chased after the first game, so it's a good challenge for us. We might have looked to do that in the last couple of games anyway. We haven't really focused on the opposition till now in the tournament. We've been finding ways to win games, that's the biggest positive for us. Vijay Shankar has a bit of a toe niggle, Rishabh Pant comes in for him,"ESPNcricinfo quoted Kohli as saying.
"We've all seen what he can do with the bat. He'll bring a lot of flair and fearlessness, once he gets going, he's difficult to stop. There's one short boundary as well. Crunch result on the outside as well, so I'm sure the fans of the Pakistan team will be supporting us today!" the 30-year-old added.
Pakistan and India remain arch-rivals and have an intense - often bitter cricketing rivalry. Pakistani fans rarely back the Men in Blue even when India play against other countries and it is also the same vice versa.
On Saturday, Pakistan moved up to the fourth place after sealing a narrow three-wicket win against Afghanistan. England, on the other hand, are just one point short of Pakistan to stand at the fifth place.
A win against India will see England dethrone the Sarfraz Ahmed-led side from the fourth spot in the points table from which only the top four sides will make it to the semi-finals. Meanwhile, a defeat for unbeaten India is highly unlikely to affect their prospects in the tournament.
However, India would be eager to continue their unbeaten streak in the tournament, while Pakistani fans too are keeping their fingers crossed and are likely to cheer for India in their clash against England.