Ahead of India’s blockbuster ICC T20 World Cup 2022 campaign opener clash against Pakistan, veteran Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has said margins are extremely close in the shortest format of the game and both arch-rivals respect each other as teams. India will begin their T20 World Cup campaign against Pakistan on October 23 at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

“It is a game of cricket. We do not play them (Pakistan) a lot. This rivalry is big and means a lot to people from both nations. But wins and losses are part of the game. Especially in this format, margins are gonna be close. We respect Pakistan as a team and so do they,” said Ashwin in a press conference after India’s practice match against Western Australia.

The spinner said that the game against Western Australia was a good one. “By the time the first game of the tournament comes, you have to be completely sure about the conditions,” he added.

India defeated Western Australia by 13 runs in the practice match leading up to the World Cup. A half-century from Suryakumar Yadav (52) and cameos from Hardik Pandya (27) and Deepak Hooda (22) powered India to 158/6 in their 20 overs. Jason Behrendorff (2/26) was the star with the ball for WA in the match. Pacers Arshdeep Singh (3/6) Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2/26) destroyed WA’s top order, reducing them to 12/4. Sam Fanning (59) and wicket-keeper Cameron Bancroft (22) did put up some decent scores but the hosts fell 13 runs short of a win.

Ashwin said that the Men in Blue are currently in the process of acclimatization and getting used to bounce and pace in Perth and youngsters and new players in the team will benefit from it. Asked if previous wins in Australia have given them confidence, the spinner said, “Confidence is a big thing in this game. When you have some good memories in a particular place, you come there backing yourself. The last Test series against Australia here went our way, we will hook on to it, but we also played some good white-ball cricket here. This is something we all can draw from. We will look to make a quick adaptation in Perth. There is no better place than this for that purpose, the bounce is steep and the speed is also quite up there.”

On India’s recent woes in death over bowling, Ashwin pointed out that while it is fair to point out the beating Indian bowlers have received in the final few overs, the boundaries in India are closer to the 30-yard circle but they are bigger in Australia. Ashwin said that the team received a great reception in Perth. “There was an Indian festival happening in the park, near to where we are staying. It is a home away from home to us,” he added.


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By Dipak

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