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Mickey Arthur hails 'biggest rivalry' ahead of India showdown with Pakistan

Arthur hails 'biggest rivalry' ahead of India showdown with Pakistan
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The coach believes the World Cup game could attract a TV audience as high as 1.5 billion.

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur declared "you do something incredible, you'll be remembered forever" on the eve of their World Cup showdown against India at Old Trafford.

There is set to be a fevered atmosphere inside the 26,000-capacity ground on Sunday for a contest that could attract a worldwide television audience of more than one billion.

While India captain Virat Kohli attempted to tone down the significance of the contest, Arthur believes the match is a chance for his players to forge lasting legacies.

Mickey Arthur, centre, has urged Pakistan's players to create lasting legacies for themselves (Simon Cooper/PA)
Mickey Arthur, centre, has urged Pakistan's players to create lasting legacies for themselves (Simon Cooper/PA)

Arthur said: "I don't want to say it's the biggest rivalry in sport, but I saw some stats which said the soccer World Cup final attracted 1.6 billion viewers. Tomorrow is likely to get 1.5 billion.

"It doesn't get bigger than that. It doesn't get more exciting.

"I'm telling our players in the dressing room, you could be a hero. Your careers are going to be defined by a moment in the game. You do something incredible, you'll be remembered forever.

"Our kind of mantra is how do you want to be remembered? We've got 15 incredible cricketers in that dressing room, and we keep stressing to them, how do you want to be remembered?

"You're the class of 2019. What are they going to say about you in history? And tomorrow presents an unbelievable opportunity for these guys to really make a mark."

While India have made an unbeaten start to the tournament, Pakistan have already lost to the West Indies and Australia, either side of a surprise win over tournament hosts and favourites England.

'Mercurial' is a label that has been liberally used to describe Pakistan in the last couple of decades, but Arthur sees the positive in the tag.

Sarfraz Ahmed's side - and Pakistan outfits in previous generations - are regularly labelled as unpredictable (Mike Egerton/PA)
Sarfraz Ahmed's side – and Pakistan outfits in previous generations – are regularly labelled as unpredictable (Mike Egerton/PA)

He said: "That unpredictability tag always sort of hangs around the Pakistan team, and that makes us very exciting.

"I don't particularly like when the commentators talk about, 'it depends which Pakistan team has racked up', because, as coach, we prepare those guys exceptionally well every time to make sure that, when they go on the field, they're ready to deliver and ready to fire.

"But we are exciting, and I know there's a massive amount of excitement in that dressing room tomorrow as to the opportunity that tomorrow presents."

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Virat Kohli during the second day of the second Test between England and India on August 2, 2018
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