ISLAMABAD: Former Test captain and legendary batsman Javed Miandad on Friday said adjustments by captain Misbah-ul-Haq in executing the team’s game plan will be an important factor in Saturday’s Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka.

Defending champions Pakistan lock horns with Sri Lanka in a potentially high-voltage final of the continent’s premier cricket event at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.

“The game plan is discussed by the team management before the match. However, Misbah should also be vigilant on the field [during the match] to change and execute fresh plans as and when required,” Miandad said.

Miandad warned Misbah-ul-Haq’s brigade to learn from their mistakes and avoid repeating them in the all-important final against Angelo Mathews’ men who have remained unbeaten in the five-nation event.

Miandad, who recently resigned from the post of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) director general, emphasised Pakistan should keep wickets in hand in the first fifteen overs. “Batting full 50 overs will matter a lot in the final,” Miandad, a veteran of 124 Tests and 233 ODIs, underlined.

Miandad, who is amongst the Pakistan cricketers to have his name listed in the Hall of Fame, said Pakistan team should enter the field on Saturday with a fresh approach while forgetting past matches, and play their natural game.

Wasim Bari, another former Test captain and wicket-keeper, believed that the Pakistan had an edge over Sri Lanka in the final, but insisted Misbah’s team should have a simple game plan.

“No doubt, Pakistan achieved excellence in their wins against India and Bangladesh but the final is altogether a different ball game,” Bari said on Friday, while advising the Pakistan players to remain focussed to win the all-important final.

“Two best teams are in the final. It will be a close contest but Pakistan due to variety in their bowling have an edge over the Islanders.”

The former wicket-keeper, however, warned Pakistan not to be complacent, noting Sri Lanka were dangerous opponents.

He said fielding and running between wickets were going to be crucial factors in the final, stressing, “Our fielders should hold the chances to remain in the title hunt.”

Bari said Kumar Sangakkara’s wicket would be vital. “If we dismiss Sangakkarra early, as we did to Virat Kohli in the India match, it will boost Pakistan’s chances,” he remarked, insisting Pakistan pace bowlers must bowl in the right channel.

Pace bowling genius Wasim Akram, meanwhile, said Pakistan could grab the Asia Cup by handling the spinners well.

Talking to a private news channel, Wasim said Pakistan were in high spirits to defend the Asia Cup crown. “Pakistan are playing with a perfect combination, all they need to do is to tackle the Sri Lankan spinners, particularly Ajantha Mendis, in the final,” he observed.

“By watching the videos of Mendis, his finger movements and body language Pakistan batters can prepare well to face his bowling.”

Some brilliant performances from the likes of Afridi, Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad had made the team a fighting unit, Wasim added.

Former Test opener Mohsin Khan said the way Pakistan had performed in the Asia Cup so far, they had a golden opportunity of keeping the title.

“Our players have done remarkably well. However, another great effort is required from them to complete the mission,” Mohsin commented.

Former Test fast bowler Sarfraz Nawaz said momentum was with Pakistan which he reckoned could be key factor in Saturday’s decider.

He hoped that Pakistan bowlers would deliver a lot better show against Sri Lanka.—APP



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