NEW DELHI: Ahead of the much-awaited India vs Pakistan encounter in the ongoing ODI World Cup, former Pakistan batsman Mohammad Hafeez has tagged India as one of the strong title favourites, but also highlighted the home team’s barren run in the ICC events since 2013.
It has been a decade since India secured an ICC trophy, with their last triumph being the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy.
Incidentally, the last time the ‘Men in Blue’ clinched the ODI World Cup in 2011 under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, it was co-hosted by India; and the 50-over showpiece has returned to the Indian soil after 12 years.”India are so good at home. Yes, they will be one of the favourites to win the title (but) we need to wait and watch,” Hafeez said in an exclusive interview with

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India had dominant runs during the group stage of the 2015 and 2019 editions of the World Cup but lost in the semifinals on both the occasions.
“India are (one of) the favourites but what about their recent success (form) in ICC tournaments? They lost crucial games, lost in the knockouts…But playing at home will surely give them a little bit of confidence,” said Hafeez, who resigned from Pakistan Cricket Board’s technical committee weeks before the World Cup.

The Indian team also reached the finals of the ICC World Test Championships (2019–2021 and 2021–2023) in the last two cycles but lost the title matches to New Zealand and Australia respectively.

“They need to maintain momentum and a positive mindset. They have all the ingredients in their team. They can use all those to utilise in different conditions and get success in the tournament,” Hafeez, who played 55 Tests, 218 ODIs and 119 T20Is for Pakistan, said.

The two neighbours will face off in an ODI World Cup for the eighth time on Saturday. India have won on all previous seven occasions.
With two of the world’s best batsmen, Virat Kohli and Babar Azam, ready for another battle, comparisons are once again being drawn in terms of who is the better batsman in the 50-over format.

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While both Virat and Babar have the numbers for their fans to contest for their favourite batter, Hafeez refused to be drawn into that debate.


“I am really against comparisons,” said the former Pakistan batsman. “I don’t compare a player with another. Every player has his own identity, style and way to entertain his fans.
“I just want to tell those people who compare Babar with Virat to stay away from this and let’s not compare one talented player to another talented player,
“Both Virat and Babar are increasing the mileage of this beautiful sport. We all want them to play for as long as possible and entertain the fans in their own ways. Let’s enjoy their games,” Hafeez said.

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