Virat Kohli in the 2017 Champions Trophy final. (Photo Source: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Former Indian opener, Gautam Gambhir has emphasized that India’s primary focus should be on clinching the World Cup 2023 title rather than focusing solely on their highly anticipated encounter with Pakistan.
The much-anticipated match was initially slated for October 15 but was later rescheduled to October 14. Gambhir, renowned for his pivotal 97-run performance in India’s triumphant 2011 World Cup final, asserted that the match against Pakistan is merely a stepping stone, not the entire tournament.
“England had the last laugh. You go into that tournament not thinking that we have only got to beat Pakistan. And I hope that doesn’t happen in the 50-over World Cup in India as well,” Gambhir told Star Sports.
“I hope it’s not only about India and Pakistan on October 14. I hope it’s about India playing the World Cup final and lifting the Cup because you never know how many people will be part of the next World Cup from this World Cup team. And it only happens after 4 years,” he added.
Gambhir stressed that the focus should extend beyond the historic rivalry between India and Pakistan, urging the cricketing fraternity to prioritize the broader goal of securing the World Cup.
“For us as a nation, for us as fans, for us as broadcasters, everything should not only be focused on India and Pakistan. It’s all about winning the World Cup. Pakistan is just a block. It’s just a step toward winning the World Cup,” he stated.
He went on to draw parallels with past tournaments, highlighting that even during the T20 World Cup in 2007 and the 50-over World Cup in 2011, the focus was never solely on Pakistan. Gambhir believes that shifting the narrative away from the age-old rivalry and towards the pursuit of victory will position India for success.
As India gears up to kickstart their World Cup 2023 campaign against Australia on October 8 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, fans will be hoping for India’s victory. India last clinched an ICC trophy in 2013 during the Champions Trophy led by MS Dhoni. Since then, they have come close to glory on several occasions but faltered in crucial matches.