15th February 2015 - 4th June 2017: 869 days!
Yes, that’s how long fans around the world have to wait for an India v Pakistan ODI contest!
There is simply no bigger game than this in the world of cricket.
Ahead of this big encounter at the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy, here are the five things that we can look forward to on this Super :
1. Virat Kohli vs Mohammad Amir:
It’s a contest within a contest. The Asia Cup T20I in Dhaka and the ICC World T20 clash in Kolkata had shown glimpses of a quality face-off between two of the biggest names in world cricket. Cricket purists the world over will be eagerly looking ahead to this grand battle between arguably one of the best bowlers in world cricket and the numero-uno batsman. For the record, Amir has bowled only 6 deliveries to Kohli in ODIs.
2. The opening combination:
It was the first match of the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy against South Africa when Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma first batted together at top of the order. The dynamic duo hasn’t looked back since, amassing 2450 runs in 54 innings (ODIs) at an average of 46.23 (Eight fifty and hundred partnerships respectively). The Rohit-Dhawan combination began the last Champions Trophy with back-to-back hundred run-partnerships. Talk about a good omen for India!
3. MS Dhoni and the changed middle order:
Captain of ICC CT 2013, MS Dhoni, has passed on that baton to Kohli and can focus on playing his natural game now. But the man from Jharkhand wants the youngsters to take up the responsibility of finishing the innings and we can see him at no.4 or no.5, playing in the middle overs (16-40). With Dhoni coming up the order, the role of ‘finisher’ falls on players like Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Hardik Pandya. They have done reasonably well in limited ODI apperances for Team India and the team-management will be keen that they carry on the good work.
4. Role of the spin twins:
Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja put up a terrific show in ICC CT 2013. The duo scalped 20 wickets and were one of the main reason why India went on to win the trophy. Again in 2017, the duo, who are now reliant with the bat as well, will look to extend the support role to the pacers. The Pakistan batting line-up is comparatively inexperienced and the experienced spin duo can take advantage of that.
5. The pace of Indian fast bowlers:
For the first time, it can be said that the Indian pacers are as good as, if not better than their Pakistan counterpart. The quartet of Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami have a bowling all-rounder, Hardik Pandya, to aid them as well. Together these bowlers have shown their wrath in the warm-up matches and would look to continue the same against Pakistan as well.
The first match of any tournament is always crucial and a win here can do wonders for the confidence on the players.