Pakistan's Amir fit and plays in Champions Trophy final


Captain Sarfraz Ahmed today lauded the youngsters of his side and said they played an integral part in helping Pakistan reach the final of the ICC Champions Trophy, despite a crushing defeat in the opener against India.

Vadodara: Ahead of much-anticipated, high octane Champions Trophy final between India and Pakistan at the Oval, Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan has declared the clash between the two Asian arch-rival bigger than the Ashes series.

"I know it is a tricky one but given that the Oval pitch has bounce I would be tempted to play Umesh". "To be honest, India, at this time, has a better team and more depth".

It was exactly two weeks ago when the Virat Kohli-led side thrashed Pakistan by 124 runs in their opening match of the eight-team marquee event at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham.

Pakistan have surprised many to reach the final of CT17, a tournament it very almost failed to qualify for.

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India defeated Pakistan mostly in major ICC tournament matches so far in the history of the game.

The players from India and Pakistan will be cordial before and after the Champions Trophy final in London on Sunday - for that is customary in cricket's conventions - but there'll be tension for hundreds of millions of people tuning in across South Asia, where this rivalry transcends sport.

Since the beginning of ODIs in 1971, India and Pakistan have played in the finals of multi-nation tournaments 10 times, with Pakistan holding the edge. "We're now moving forward".

Defending champions India had come into the competition as one of the favourites, and seeing them in the final does not come as a huge surprise.

There has always been a lot of hype associated with India-Pakistan matches.

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"Cricket's culture in Pakistan is dying since the new generation hasn't seen worldwide cricket being played in Pakistan", Dr. Nauman Niaz, direct of sports and syndication at Pakistan Television Corp., told the AP.

The spin duo of Imad Wasim and Mohammad Hafeez alongside medium-pacer Rumman Raees - who made his debut in the semi-finals - will look to provide depth and variation to the Pakistan bowling line-up. "We want to see Sarfraz lift the trophy on Sunday".

The best thing about the current Indian team is that their bowlers have it in them to win matches on their own, which was missing in the past. They fell well short, and were bowled out for just 164.

"I look forward to playing as it's a big occasion", added Amir, now firmly back in the global fold after his career was halted by a ban and jail sentence for his part in a 2010 spot-fixing scam during a Test against England at Lord's. "Let's hope we can put our "A" game on again tomorrow, because if we can - and I said it before the England game - if we put our "A" game together and do the basics well, we can beat anybody".

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