Former Pakistan cricketing legend Shoaib Akhtar has weighed in on Pakistan’s prospects in the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup and the ongoing Asia Cup. During a virtual press conference organized by Star Sports, the “Rawalpindi Express” shared his insights on Pakistan’s team composition and their chances of success. Akhtar expressed optimism about Pakistan’s performance and highlighted the team’s strengths, especially in their bowling department and improved batting lineup.
One of the key points Shoaib Akhtar raised was the absence of a prominent bowling all-rounder in the Pakistan squad. Historically, Pakistan has been known for producing exceptional all-rounders like Imran Khan and Wasim Akram, who played pivotal roles in their successes. Akhtar believes having a reliable bowling all-rounder can add depth to Pakistan’s squad and enhance their chances in the upcoming tournaments.
Despite the absence of a prominent all-rounder, Shoaib Akhtar expressed confidence in Pakistan’s capabilities. He labeled them as one of the favorites in the ICC Cricket World Cup, scheduled to start on October 5. He emphasized Pakistan’s bowling strength, which includes a formidable pace battery, and commended the team’s spinners. Akhtar acknowledged the significant challenge of beating India in India. Still, he believed it to be a close-to-impossible feat for any team due to India and Pakistan’s strong pace attacks.
“I think Pakistan is missing a bowling all-rounder…Pakistan will go into India’s land in India as the favorite. I will be very honest with you. And Asia Cup simultaneously, I think they are one of the favorites. India and Pakistan are the two teams playing in the subcontinent; beating India in India is going to be the impossible thing, but beating Pakistan in India in the subcontinent will be a close to impossible thing because both teams have a good pace battery. One has a great pace, battery spinners are good as well, and both teams have confidence,” the former pacer said.
Shoaib Akhtar also highlighted the transformation of Pakistan’s batting unit. He noted that, in the past, the batting lineup appeared fragile, but now, the team looks more settled and composed. This newfound confidence in chasing down scores is a positive sign for Pakistan’s prospects in the upcoming tournaments. Akhtar expressed optimism that Pakistan’s improved batting prowess could make them a formidable force to reckon with.
“The batting unit that Pakistan has, earlier they looked fragile. But now…they look like a very settled squad. It feels like they can bat and chase scores down. They would not get out that easily; they look composed to chase down scores. So, I think it looks like a good team,” he added.
Pakistan has reached the Super Four stage in the ongoing Asia Cup, showcasing its potential in the subcontinent’s cricketing landscape. Their next crucial match against arch-rivals India on September 10 in Colombo promises to be an intense showdown. Akhtar’s observations hint at a closely contested battle between two teams armed with strong pace bowlers and confident batting lineups.
Shoaib Akhtar’s insights into Pakistan’s cricketing prospects in the ICC Cricket World Cup and Asia Cup offer a glimpse into the team’s strengths and areas for improvement. While acknowledging the absence of a bowling all-rounder, Akhtar’s confidence in Pakistan’s pace attack and their improved batting lineup paints a positive picture for Pakistani cricket fans. The upcoming matches, especially the clash against India, will test Pakistan’s mettle on the field as they aim to live up to their “favorite” status and succeed in these prestigious tournaments.