Pakistan legend Wasim Akram has urged fans on both the sides of the border to stay calm during his country’s potentially volatile World Cup clash against bitter rivals India in Manchester on Sunday.
Wasim, who is in England for the match as a commentator, labelled the latest meeting between the old enemies as “the biggest match of the World Cup”.But with passions running high among both fanbases and political relations between the countries extremely tense, Wasim said the match should be enjoyed rather than used to inflame the situation.
“This can’t be bigger,” Wasim told AFP on Friday. “India and Pakistan playing at the World Cup with over a billion audience is the biggest thing in cricket, so my message to both sets of fans to enjoy it and stay calm.
“One team will win, one team will lose, so stay graceful and do not take this as a war. Those who project this match as war are not true cricket fans.”
The Old Trafford clash is a sell-out, with tickets now for sale on the black market at reported prices of around £2,500 ($3,150). And former pace bowler Wasim admitted any India against Pakistan match has pressure, let alone one in the World Cup.
“Who can realise the pressure more than me?” said Wasim. “I used to look forward to a match against India because it brings the best out of the players from both the sides.”