Pakistan have mental block when it comes to playing India in World Cups: Misbah

Team India
India have lost to Pakistan just once (in 2021) in seven T20 World Cup matches. File photo: AFP/Farooq Naeem

New Delhi: Former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq believes his country will find it difficult to edge past India when the two sides clash in next month's T20 World Cup as there seems to be a "mental block" when it comes to playing the arch-rivals in International Cricket Council (ICC) events.

India and Pakistan will clash on June 9 in New York in arguably the most awaited league stage match of the T20 World Cup that begins on June 1 in the Americas. India have lost to Pakistan just once (in 2021) in seven T20 World Cup matches.

"You call it Pakistan's jinx or mental block when it comes to playing India in World Cups. Pakistan will need to do a lot because this is a very skilled Indian team with a powerful bowling line-up and two good spinners," Misbah said on 'Star Sports Press Room' on Wednesday.

"India has quality fast bowlers in (Jasprit) Bumrah, (Mohammed) Siraj and Hardik (Pandya). The Indian cricket team's quality has risen many folds. It will be difficult to break, mental attitude matters a lot and Australia handles the mental side the best way.

"There is no pressure of excess baggage with Australia, and it needs to been seen how both India and Pakistan handle that pressure."

Misbah said Virat Kohli, who has played some memorable knocks against his country, will once again be a major threat even though there has been considerable chatter surrounding his strike rate in the ongoing IPL.

"Kohli is going to be a big factor. He has damaged Pakistan many a times. He enjoys supremacy over Pakistan mentally. He takes motivation from big occasions and not pressure," he said.

"The Virat Kohli effect will definitely be there. He is a top-class cricketer. He is one player who can win you matches, strike rates don't matter. Good players take motivation from those voices or criticism."

Misbah still hasn't forgotten the ill-executed scoop shot in the inaugural T20 World Cup final against India in 2007.

With Pakistan needing just six runs to win from the last four balls, Misbah attempted that shot over fine leg which was caught by S Sreesanth as Pakistan crumbled to 152, chasing a target of 157, handing India the trophy.

But Misbah said that tournament was responsible for the rapid growth of T20 cricket.

"In 2007 T20 World Cup, all teams were not so serious. India handed captaincy to a young (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni. But the final between India and Pakistan, the greatest rivalry in the history of cricket. The hype that T20 got after that World Cup is immense.

"The way T20 cricket flourished, I feel whatever we achieved and the current players are now plying their trade in different leagues and IPL is something great," he said.

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