COLOMBO: Arch-rivals India and Pakistan will get an early chance to size up each other ahead of the World Twenty20 when they clash in a high-profile practice match in Colombo next Monday.
The match, part of the warm-up schedule drawn up by the International Cricket Council, is the only one of 12 practice games that will be beamed live by the host broadcasters. Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez welcomed the chance to play against India before the tournament starts on Tuesday.
“It is usually a high-pressure game and good for us to experience it early,” Hafeez told reporters in Colombo on Wednesday night. India coach Duncan Fletcher said his team’s two warm-up matches — the other is against host Sri Lanka on Saturday — will be important preparations for the main event.
“We have come here with the belief that we can win the World Twenty20 and it is crucial we get attuned to the conditions,” Fletcher said. “We have obviously got a good build-up. “We look forward to the two warm-up games which will give us the preparation we require for the tournament.”
India and Pakistan have been drawn in separate groups for the preliminary league, but will meet in the Super Eights round in Colombo on September 30 if the seedings go to plan.
The two nations have played just two official Twenty20 internationals against each other, both during the inaugural world event in South Africa in 2007. The league match in Durban ended in a tie with India winning the bowl-out, before the two sides met again in the final in Johannesburg, which Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Indians won by five runs.
Bilateral cricket ties between the two nations, which had been suspended since the Mumbai attacks in 2008, are set to resume later this year when Pakistan tour India for three one-dayers and two Twenty20 games. (AFP)