Don’t miss the chance to etch your name into cricket history – that’s the message from Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur ahead of their crunch clash with India. Pakistan against India is a cricketing rivalry like no other and the latest chapter will be written at Old Trafford in the ICC Cricket World Cup on Sunday.
A raucous atmosphere is a given but the game also has added significance for Pakistan in the context of the World Cup, with their hopes of reaching the knockout stages already in jeopardy following defeats to West Indies and Australia.
And coach Arthur is urging his players to instantly become a legend by producing a moment of brilliance to help defeat their chief foes in Manchester.
“I don’t want to say it’s the biggest rivalry in sport necessarily but I saw a stat that the soccer World Cup final got 1.6 billion viewers around the world and that this match is likely to be watched by 1.5 billion,” said Arthur.
“It really doesn’t get bigger or more exciting than that. I’m telling our players in the dressing room – you could be a hero. Your careers are going to be defined by a moment in the game.
“If you do something incredible out there, you will be remembered forever. There are 15 incredible cricketers in that dressing room and we keep stressing to them – how do you want to be remembered?
“This is the class of 2019 – what are they going to say about you in history? This game presents an unbelievable opportunity for these guys to really make a mark.”
Pakistan have already recorded one of the most impressive result in the tournament when they beat England by 14 runs at Trent Bridge a fortnight ago – having set the hosts an intimidating total of 348.
That success has been tempered by defeats to West Indies and Australia – in addition to a rained-out game against Sri Lanka – and for Arthur, it is now about trying to produce a complete performance.
“We know that if we put all three disciplines together, then we can beat anyone in the world,” he insisted.
“We haven’t put the perfect game together yet. Our disciplines have been good with the bat, OK with the ball and OK in the field.
“Even the game against England wasn’t perfect. We batted very well but we were still just a little bit short of bowling and gave ten away in field – if we put it all together then we’re very confident we can beat everybody.”
And Arthur has also been ensuring his squad – the youngest at this World Cup – are not overawed by the occasion.
“When we get a little bit tentative, we tend to fall off boil a little bit, so the message for the boys is not to hold back,” he added.
“If we leave everything out on the field and take the game on, then hopefully it clicks.
“It only takes one moment of magic, one moment of brilliance – just one guy standing up, particularly early in the game, to make the difference.”
(With inputs from ICC)