Perspiration flows down your cheek like a river of doubt. The silence pierces deep into your ears distorting your senses. Your heart pounds vigorously to a steady drum beat. The time of reckoning has come. Step out of the tunnel and embrace the roar of the crowd. Leave doubt behind and let passion and drive fill your soul. For in the heat of battle your mind must be clear. You must focus with all your might on the target - ultimate glory. Only then will you truly be able to succeed. Now march; march for victory, for glory, for fame. March through the enemies ranks and take what is rightfully yours.
This is no ordinary game of cricket. This game is not for the faint hearted. This is an all out war and there is no middle ground. This is winner takes all. This is Pakistan vs India.
Statistics are almost irrelevant to this sort of contest. For example the statistics were against India in the ICC World Twenty20 2007 in South Africa were Pakistan required a run off two balls. Sreesanth, however had different ideas and what followed was a dot ball a wicket and a bowl out which became embarrassing for Pakistani fans across the globe to watch.
Let's be realistic. The T20 format is full of unpredictability and it is quite predictable that a mercurial side such as Pakistan excels in this form of the game. It is hard to fathom a reason as to why Pakistan have not yet beaten India in a world cup game. Looking back over the games it is plain to see that statistical analysis of the games do not show us the underlying reasons of Pakistan's losses to India. What is apparent is that there seems to be a poor mentality coming into these big games and it is understandable that when facing your biggest rivals the stakes are raised to the maximum.
This year however it is a different story. Fresh off the block with a win against India in the recently concluded Asia Cup, Pakistan will be full of confidence. Mohammad Hafeez has stated that it is a game which the players enjoy playing and thus embracing the expectation of all the hopeful fans. One other factor which has not been mentioned until now is that Pakistan have nothing to lose. Having being beaten on every occasion in the World Cup against India thus far, and the fact that this is the first game in the tournament could be beneficial to the Pakistani camp. If Pakistan beats India they have a boost at the beginning at the tournament that can help them through the rest of the cup and in the event that they lose they will be able to overcome their bogey side and look on to the rest of the teams with joy that the hardest of them has come and gone.
"See, when you drive home today, you've got a big windshield on the front of your car. And you've got a little bitty rear-view mirror. And the reason the windshield is so large and the rear-view mirror is so small is because what's happened in your past is not near as important as what's in your future." - Joel Osteen
There is no need to focus on the past for the Pakistani side, rather they should look forward to the future and leave the rest behind.
The mindset needs to be positive for whoever the winner will be. It is a big chance for Pakistan to come out and bring the attack to the Indians and heap the pressure onto them. For Pakistan the road to victory will come through playing with clear heads and focusing on the game rather than succumbing to pressure and thinking of how badly they will be affected as the tournament continues.
"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." - Benjamin Franklin
Afridi will have a big role to play, can he continue his good form with the bat and play with big and small shots in his artillery.
The fact of the matter is that this will be a big game. The stadiums will be packed with screaming fans. The players will need to wear their hearts on their sleeves and come out roaring with energy in every department. To the boys in green: "May the lightning of your glory be seen and the thunders of your onset heard from east to west, and be ye the avengers of noble blood!" - William the Conqueror.
Let us end how we began. Step out of the tunnel and embrace the roar of the crowd. Leave doubt behind and let passion and drive fill your soul. For in the heat of battle your mind must be clear. You must focus with all your might on the target - ultimate glory. Only then will you truly be able to succeed. Now march; march for victory, for glory, for fame. March through the enemies ranks and take what is rightfully yours.
To the Captains I leave you these words to pass on to your subjects:
... TO WAR!!!
The Road to Glory: Clash of the Titans
The Road to Glory: Clash of the Titans