Indian premium spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Friday, 18 March, described the rivalry against Pakistan as bigger than the Ashes series and insisted that neither of the arch-rivals start as favourites for Saturday's mouth-watering contest in the World Twenty20 group stage match at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
"This rivalry is huge. It is probably bigger than the Ashes. I don't think fans watch this match as a game of cricket, it is more of a border rivalry," Ashwin told reporters while addressing a press conference on the eve of the high-octane clash.
While India are aiming to bounce back from their shocking defeat against New Zealand in the opening game, a resurgent Pakistan will look to replicate their stunning form displayed in the previous match against Bangladesh.
"I don't think anybody has an edge. No one starts as favourites, its 50-50 I think. Pakistan played against Bangladesh brilliantly. If we can rise up and played to our potential we can try and win the game as well.
"I don't think we really see a lot of pressure in this game. We're used to playing a lot of Indo-Pak games. Every game that India plays is a pressure game. We should be able to handle it. We have almost put ourselves in a position where we have to win every game from here. So, I think that is more important and pertinent," added the 29-year-old.
India entered the T20 format's pinnacle event as red-hot favourites on the back of 10 wins in 11 T20 matches, including victory in the Asia Cup.