Former captain and fast bowling great Wasim Akram believes that Babar Azam-led Pakistan are a strong contender to win the ICC ODI Cricket World Cup 2023, to be hosted by India in October-November.
Talking to Sports Tak, Akram said that Pakistan had a formidable fast bowling attack, possessing the quality to help their team lift the coveted trophy. “Our captain is a great player and we have one of the best fast-bowling lineups in the world,” he said.
“Shaheen Afridi is currently in prime form. He has led his team to victory in the PSL-8 for the second time. He is developing pretty well as an all-rounder. Then there is Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah. (Mohammad) Hasnain is there, Ihsanullah is an exciting young fast bowler,” he added.
He said that as the nature of pitches in India was largely batting friendly, team with a strong bowling unit will eventually succeed in making it through.
“I think because the World Cup is happening in India, it is the team with the stronger bowling attack that will succeed because the pitches tend to be batter friendly,” he said.
Akram also talked about the Indian batter’s shortcoming to tackle the in-swinging deliveries. He said although the angling deliveries had troubled them, they would find a way to pass the problem. “It is the angle that makes it difficult and especially when the ball comes in.
“At the same time, India have some great top-order players. Be it, Virat Kohli, be it, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul, all of them are greats of the game and they will figure out the problems.”
Indian top-order faced a similar challenge against Mitchell Starc in the recently-held 2nd ODI Australia. Starc created troubles for them with his sharp moving deliveries and dismissed them in his first spell.
“Let’s give credit to Mitchell Starc. He bowled brilliantly and the pitch was also very lively. And the way the ball was seaming around at one point I thought I am seeing a match in Australia or New Zealand”, he added.
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