India-Pakistan match will draw huge crowd anywhere: Shastri

Kolkata, March 9 (IANS) India cricket team director Ravi Shastri on Wednesday said the India-Pakistan World Twenty20 encounter will draw huge crowd wherever it will be staged.

The game which was scheduled to be played in Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh on March 19, was on Wednesday shifted to the historic Eden Gardens here for security reasons.

Before the final decision was out on the venue of the marquee clash, Shatri said: “Where we play we don’t know. But Indo-Pak tie will draw huge crowd wherever it will be played. And when you are playing at home, majority of the crowd will be behind India.”

Speaking about the threat from Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir who bowled brilliantly against India in the recently concluded Asia Cup, Shastri said: “You are speaking about a game that happened last week and we play them again one month later. We all know he bowled beautifully but then everyday can’t be his day. You have to think of what is ahead.”

Asked if Indian speedster Mohammad Shami will play in the practice games, Shastri said he will have to.

“Shami is in the 15 (member squad), he will have to play,” he said.

The 53-year-old also said he is facing a ‘problem of plenty’ with the squad but believes that is what adds to the bench strength of the side.

“Rahane is a good problem to have. The good thing about our bench strength is they can get into any side of the world. He will be around,” he said.

Shastri said the team was banking on the mix of youth and experience to regain the trophy which they won back in 2007.

“Every side that needs to be a good side has to have the balance of youth and experience. Look at teams that have won the World Cup. There’s always been a mix of youth and experience. What youth does is it brings energy. They keep the seniors on their toes and they will want to emulate the juniors,” Shastri said.

Youngster Hardik Pandya has impressed even the harshest critics in the last few weeks with his allround skills, and Shastri believes he is a value addition to the squad.

“Very important (being picked for the T20 format), because he has all three departments. He is a very good fielder, he is sharp when he bowls and he is a tremendous striker. You need such players in such a format,” he added.

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