KARACHI: While stating that Pakistan were peaking at the right time, former Test captain and legendary pace bowler Wasim Akram on Wednesday urged Misbah-ul-Haq-captained side should remain wary of Sri Lanka in the final in order to defend the Asia Cup title.
Talking to a private TV channel, Wasim said Sri Lanka had been clinical in the tournament, so Pakistan would have to remain alert throughout.
“Presently, Pakistan are playing brilliant cricket with Shahid Afridi at his very best,” Wasim, a veteran of 104 Tests and 356 ODIs, commented. “However, I think Pakistan will have to remain watchful against Sri Lanka in the final as Angelo Mathews and Company have played some very fine cricket in the Asia Cup so far,” he added.
Sri Lanka have remained unbeaten in the Asia Cup so far. The Islanders defeated Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. The Mathews’ team take on hosts Bangladesh in their last league match of the event — inconsequential to say the least — in Dhaka on Thursday.
Wasim had special word of praise for Afridi.
“Afridi’s amazing batting changed Pakistan’s fortunes against India and then against Bangladesh as Pakistan chased their record total of 327. I don’t have words to describe Afridi’s remarkable batting,” the left-arm pace bowling icon said.
Wasim also lauded returning all-rounder Fawad Alam for notching his career-best score in the Bangladesh match.
“Fawad was making a comeback in the national team after over three years but he did very well to help steer his team to victory, while smashing a couple of sixes at the right time,” he remarked.
Wasim criticised Pakistan’s bowling that allowed Bangladesh to post a huge 326-3. The pace duo of Umar Gul (0-76 off 10 overs) and Mohammad Talha (1-68 off seven overs) received heavy thrashing at the hands of Bangladesh batsmen.
“They bowled too much outside the off-stump instead of bowling in the right areas,” Wasim noted. “I hope they will learn from their mistakes.”
Meanwhile, former Test captain Rashid Latif expressed his surprise the way left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman bowled three consecutive beamers in the Bangladesh game, and was disallowed to bowl further in the match as per the rules. “I was surprised at Rehman bowling beamers with almost new ball,” Rashid, one of the finest wicket-keepers to have played the game, said.
Former Test batsman Basit Ali said three beamers in a row also surprised him. He also questioned the decision to promote Rehman in the batting order.—APP