Manchester   -  Pakistan’s players will achieve sporting immortality if they beat India at the Cricket World Cup, coach Mickey Arthur said on Saturday.

Sunday’s match at Old Trafford is expected to draw a global television audience of one billion people. There were more than 700,000 ticket applications for the match in Manchester.

“I’m telling our players in the dressing room, you could be a hero tomorrow,” said Arthur, who called the match the biggest of the tournament. “Your careers are going to be defined by a moment in the game.”

Arthur, 51, added: “You do something incredible tomorrow, you’ll be remembered forever. I saw some stats which said the soccer World Cup final attracted 1.6bn viewers. Tomorrow is likely to get 1.5bn. It doesn’t get bigger than that. It doesn’t get more exciting.

Fakhar Zaman wrote his name in Pakistan cricket lore that day by scoring the century that set up the title win, and Arthur says the stage is open for players to do the same again this time around.

“Our kind of mantra is, ‘How do you want to be remembered?’,” Arthur said. “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?’ Tomorrow presents an unbelievable opportunity for these guys to really make a mark.”

The two countries rarely play each other outside of major tournaments, with India winning their past two meetings in the Asia Cup in 2018, and Pakistan victorious in the final of the Champions Trophy in England in 2017. India have started well in the World Cup, winning their opening two matches against South Africa and Australia, before their match against New Zealand at Trent Bridge was abandoned.

The fevered anticipation ahead of the match might be offset somewhat by the weather in Manchester. “I like to think we’ve become a lot more structured as a team,” Arthur said, of his side’s inconsistent form at the World Cup. I think there’s been a lot more role clarity given to players, and hopefully that bridges the gap between being consistent and being inconsistent. I certainly think our gap between being very, very good and very bad is a lot closer, and I do think that we’re playing a game now that is a little bit more consistent. I really do believe that.

“But that unpredictability tag always sort of hangs around the Pakistan team, and that makes us very exciting. It makes us very exciting as well. I don’t particularly like it when the commentators say, ‘Oh, it depends which Pakistan team turns 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.”