MCG packed for India-Pakistan T20 clash – Shepparton News

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Ravi Shastri claims a bilateral series between India and Pakistan on neutral turf like in Australia would be a commercial success, but concedes it’s unlikely such a proposal will be approved.
Sunday night’s blockbuster between Pakistan and India at the MCG will headline the group stage of the Twenty20 World Cup, with 92,000 expected to attend.
Tickets for the match sold out within 30 minutes when they went on sale, with Shastri labelling it the “Big Daddy” of all games and claiming 150,000 fans would attend if capacity allowed.
Shastri will also call the match, broadcast on Fox Sports in Australia predicting it will break cricket’s all-time global viewership records.
Clashes between Pakistan and India have been limited to global tournaments for the past decade, with the last bilateral series played in late 2012 due to ongoing tensions between the countries.
The arch-rivals have also not faced off in a Test since 2007, however as recently as August the England and Wales Cricket Board had been developing a proposal to host the nations.
The option of larger Australian venues would also be enticing, but while Shastri believed the idea would be a success he has accepted it is unlikely it would ever be approved by the countries.
“It would be great, but that depends on the boards,” Shastri told AAP.
“It would sell out every day (in Australia), just as it would sell out Lord’s, the Oval and Edgbaston.
“A sell-out is not a problem, in fact very easy. The numbers would be massive. It is food for thought but it won’t happen that easy.
“At the end of the day the decision will come from the High Command in both countries.
“For the others to speculate, it is a little far-fetched. Once it is at that level, it is not that easy.”
Shastri played 15 Tests against Pakistan in the 1980s, but coached just four games against them in four years in charge of India between 2017 and 2021.
“You make it easier (preparing a team for those games) because they already know subconsciously how big the game is,” Shastri said. 
“You try and tell them as much as possible it is just another game. Yet at the same time you know it won’t be the case. 
“You want to take all the outside pressure away … cut most of the crap out from the outside and zero in to what you’re good at.”
Shastri said India-Pakistan matches ranked among the world’s top sporting rivalries.
“It would be the top three. You will see it on Sunday,” Shastri said.
“The viewership will go through the roof and break everything. It will be something you have not seen before, that many people will watch it.
“If the G had a capacity of 150,000, there wouldn’t have been a seat available. That is the magnitude of this contest. 
“Guys in India and the sub-continent say it is the big daddy of all games.”
Australian Associated Press
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