Soon after the euphoria surrounding the farewell of Misbah and Younis ended, Pakistan’s ODI squad landed in England for a two week training camp in Birmingham, the same venue where they will play their first group game of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 against arch rivals India.
The last time the two teams met in an ODI was two years ago at the ICC World Cup 2015.
It has been 27 months since that ODI; probably the longest wait ever for a Pakistan vs India ODI. Actually, since 2000, it is they second longest wait ever; after the 33 month wait between their Asia Cup match in Dhaka in June 2000 and the ICC World Cup match in March 2003.
Given this long wait, one can imagine the anticipation among the players and the fans for this big game, set to be held on Sunday.
The upcoming match is going to be quite different from what we are used to.
Dhoni won’t be leading India. Pakistan will be without Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi.
Afridi’s absence from a Pakistan side playing India is something difficult to absorb for the fans. The star all-rounder used to be one of the main attractions in this high-voltage fixture.
Leading up to the game, here’s a look at a little bit of history in numbers between the two neighbors, who just have not played against each other enough since the last decade, thanks to the tense political scenario.
PAKISTAN VS INDIA HEAD TO HEAD
Pakistan are still way ahead with a 72-51 record.
PAKISTAN VS INDIA AT ICC CHAMPIONS TROPHY
Pakistan are ahead here as well with a 2-1 record.
PAKISTAN VS INDIA IN ENGLAND
India are ahead here with a 2-1 record. In Birmingham, the record is 1-1.
PAKISTAN VS INDIA OUTSIDE THE SUBCONTINENT
Barring games played in the subcontinent and the UAE, the record is quite intriguing: 15-15.
PAKISTAN VS INDIA SINCE 2000
The popular belief is that Pakistan was dominant against India in the 80s and 90s (with all those games played in Sharjah); and that India has had the upper hand since the turn of the century.
Not quite true.
The record since year 2000 is 25-24 in Pakistan’s favor.
Over the last decade, however, India is leading 11-8.
BEST BATSMEN in PAKISTAN vs INDIA ODIs
Among players in the Champions Trophy squads of both the sides, Shoaib Malik is the leading run scorer. No one has scored more runs or centuries than Malik has in Pakistan vs India ODIs.
Clearly India has the batting advantage with the likes of Yuvraj, Dhoni, and Kohli who have amassed runs against Pakistan.
Pakistan’s batsmen, on the other hand, barring Malik and Mohammad Hafeez, have not played against India as much.
BEST BOWLERS in PAKISTAN vs INDIA ODIs
Malik is also the leading wicket taker among players in both the Champions Trophy squads, courtesy the number of games he has played against India. Likewise, Yuvraj Singh is leading the charts from India’s side.
In terms of average, Junaid Khan is well ahead of the other bowlers; while Bhuvneshwar Kumar is not far behind. As far as strike rate is concerned, Wahab Riaz is the most impressive, followed by Junaid.
Barring a couple of players on either side, the rest really haven’t played against each other much, which means that pressure will be high. A Pakistan vs India match requires more nerves that most other international games given the off-the-field history between the two nations.
Come June 4 and we can expect a cracker of a game. Pakistan is finding its feet in England, having successfully chased 340 odd in a warm up game. India are the defending champions and on top of their game.
Till the previous edition of the Champions Trophy, also played in England, Pakistan had not lost to India in this tournament. Last time around, the game was also at Birmingham and India had the upper hand in a rain shortened game.
Lets hope the rain stays away this time, despite the forecast, and that we get a full game.
“Umair Qazi is an investment advisor based in Dubai and an avid cricket follower. He manages his own cricker blog www.wellpitched.com and is the co-founder of the Facebook group Boys in Green.”