Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Excitement is already building up for the October 23 blockbuster between former champions and two arch-rivals--India and Pakistan at Melbourne in the ongoing T20 World Cup.

The high-octane clash builds up huge pressure among players of both the teams and most of them often struggle to cope with it.

As per rival captains Rohit Sharma and Babar Azam, players from both sides resort to chit-chats about families and cars to defuse the hype that surrounds a contest between the bitter neighbours.

India captain Rohit sought to downplay the hype around one of cricket’s greatest rivalries.

“We understand the importance of the game but there’s no point talking about it every time and creating that pressure within yourself,” the batsman said at the pre-tournament captains’ interaction with the media.

While fans treat every contest between the arch-rivals as a battle for one-upmanship, the camaraderie between both the sides was evident at the recent Asia Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

Rohit and his teammates were seen wishing Shaheen Afridi a quick recovery from a knee injury while the Pakistan speedster wished for Virat Kohli’s return to form.

“At the Asia Cup, and now here, whenever we meet, we talk about how things are back home, how the families are,” Rohit said.

“The previous generation of cricketers told us they too used to chat about these things – ‘how’s life? Which car are you buying, or planning to buy?” he added.

Babar also confirmed the bonhomie between the sides off the field despite the fierce rivalry on it.

“We don’t even talk cricket when we meet,” the stylish opener said.

“Rohit is senior to me. Whenever we come across, I try to tap into his experience since he has served India for such a long time. It’s always good to learn from someone’s experience,” he added.

The feel-good mood notwithstanding, Babar was fully aware of the importance of the match.

“Any match against India is always a high-intensity contest. Fans also wait for them. On the field, we enjoy it a lot and give our 100 percent,” said the 28-year-old.