Every Game Important, Not Just India Match - Misbah

Every Game Important, Not Just India Match - Misbah
Every Game Important, Not Just India Match - Misbah
©REUTERS / Action Images

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq is well aware of the huge levels of anticipation ahead of his side's ICC Champions Trophy clash with India on 15th June but is keen that his side prepares fully for all three of their group games.

The 2009 ICC World Twenty20 champions open their campaign against West Indies on 7th June and end their group stage against India after playing South Africa on 10th June.

And Misbah is no stranger to clashes with Pakistan's arch-rivals. In 2007, he was dismissed in the final of the ICC World Twenty20 in Johannesburg with his side six runs short of a famous win and his best Test score - 161 not out - came against India, later in the same year.

"Every game is important," Misbah said at a press conference when asked about the India match. "Coming into this tournament, I think the first two games are more so important for us because the last game, you may know if you are in or out of the tournament.

"Obviously playing against India is always important because of the interest of people back there in India and Pakistan, all over the world I think, huge fan club for these two teams, so it's really important for us to play well in that game and just win. For both teams I think it's very important, but I think every game is important here in this tournament."

The Champions Trophy pits the eight best teams in the world against each other and Misbah is well aware of the challenge his side faces.

"This is a tournament where the top eight teams are playing, so no team is an easy team here. You have to take every game as a tough game. 

"Top eight teams, you never know who's going to beat who. So you need to be 100 percent all the time. You can't relax in this sort of tournament."

After a tightly-contested 1-0 ODI series win in Ireland and a big win over Scotland, Pakistan have enjoyed good match practice in their build-up and MIsbah says confidence is high.

"Good confidence. I think the way the team is playing, it's really positive. Everybody is just chipping in, all in form, so it's really nice to be here with this sort of confidence."

Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal is already being pinpointed by many as one of Pakistan's key players during the tournament and Misbah hailed him as one of the best spinners in the world.

"He's always special for us," he said. "Everybody knows that he's at the moment one of the best spinners in the world.  He always has something special to offer to this world and to this team. I hope so.

"These kind of bowlers, these kind of players always love these sort of occasions, big events, and I'm really hoping that he's going to ?? I hope that he's going to perform well."

While a number of players who will be competing in the tournament have just finished playing in the Indian Premier League but Pakistan's lack of representation in India might leave their team fresher than most.

"You can say sometimes more cricket, I think to cope with that, it's difficult for the players," Misbah said. "But you nevr know how the players feel about that, but I think the team is in a good frame of mind.

"Everybody is really focused to play here, and I think that's the main idea behind it, that we just come here focused and just concentrate on this tournament."

© Cricket World 2013

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CT 2013 Fixtures

Fixtures & Results

6th June: India v South Africa, Cardiff
IND 331-7 beat RSA 305 by 26 runs: Report
7th June: Pakistan v West Indies, London
WIN 172-8 beat PAK 170 by 2 wickets: Report
8th June: England v Australia, Birmingham
ENG 269-6 beat AUS 221-9 by 48 runs: Report
9th June: New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Cardiff
NZL 139-9 beat SRI 138 by 1 wicket: Report
10th June: Pakistan v South Africa, Birmingham
RSA 234-9 beat PAK 167 by 67 runs: Report
11th June: India v West Indies, London
IND 236-2 beat WIN 233-9 by 8 wickets: Report
12th June: Australia v New Zealand, Birmingham
AUS 243-8 v NZL 51-2 - match abandoned: Report
13th June: England v Sri Lanka, The Oval
SRI 297-3 beat ENG 293-7 by 7 wickets: Report
15th June: India v Pakistan, Birmingham
IND 102-2 beat PAK 165 by 8 wickets: Report
16th June: England v New Zealand, Cardiff
ENG 169 beat NZL 159-8 by 10 runs: Report
17th June: Australia v Sri Lanka, London
SRI 253-8 beat AUS 233 by 20 runs: Report
19th June: Semi-Final, London
ENG 179-3 beat RSA 175 by 7 wickets: Report
20th June: Semi-Final, Cardiff
IND 182-2 beat SRI 181-8 by 8 wickets: Report
23rd June: Final, Birmingham
IND 129-7 beat ENG 124-8 by 5 runs: Report

Champions Trophy History

Previous Winners

1998: South Africa
2000: New Zealand
2002: India/Sri Lanka
2004: West Indies
2006: Australia
2009: Australia