Former New Zealand captain Stephen believes the difference between India and Pakistan in their first ICC Champions Trophy game and the level of expectation will come down to experience. The sheer expectations from both sides in an India-Pakistan contest can never be brought into dispute and that would also hold true for their encounter on Sunday.
“India have quality players with experience, whereas Pakistan are probably on the way up. Pakistan are a very talented side, but they are unpredictable,” Fleming was quoted as saying by PTI. “Pakistan are a little inconsistent given the young nature of their side and that’s where India have an edge. India are more settled and played together a lot,” he added.
He expects India to make the final four but doesn’t expect the Virat Kohli-led team to play in the final on June 18. “India are one of the favourites. There are four teams in particular which stand out for me. They are England, South Africa, Australia and India. They are definitely in the top
bracket. (Final?) England versus South Africa,” said the former Kiwi batsman.
He also praised some of the youngsters in the India side who will be playing against Pakistan for the first time. “I watched these players recently in the Indian Premier League. (Jasprit) Bumrah and Hardik Pandya in particular are outstanding players. They have also got great experience in senior players like Shikhar Dhawan, (Virat) Kohli, (MS) Dhoni, (Ravichandra) Ashwin and (Ravindra) Jadeja. You have got players all the way through, even Rohit Sharma,” he said.
Fleming who has worked with Rahane during the IPL as part of Rising Pune Supergiant expects the batsman to make an impact in the tournament. “Ajinkya was mentally and physically tired after the summer. He played a lot of cricket for India during the home series and after he finished the home series, he was fatigued and we saw some signs in the last 3-4 games in IPL. But he was starting to come back to form,” he said. “He will be a key part of the side. In England, without knowing the overhead conditions, weather its going to swing or seam, he is a type of player who you can base your innings around and he is not far away from good form,” he added.