LONDON: Former captain and legendary pacer Waqar Younis on Thursday said whenever Team Pakistan plays India it is always a huge game, but their meeting on Sunday is shaping up to be more crucial than ever.
“It’s simple — if Pakistan want to stay in the tournament, they have to bring an ‘A plus’ performance and win that game,” said Waqar after the match against Australia which Pakistan lost by 41 runs. “Their matches have always meant so much to both countries. There will be billions watching the game and they must ensure they give their best.”
As for the team composition for the India match on Sunday, Waqar said: “It may be that Mickey Arthur looks at changing the team for Sunday. I spoke to Mickey in Taunton and he is thinking in terms of horses for courses, and I agree with him to an extent. The pitch there was good for pacers and he rightly went with four of them. The issue was not the nature of the plan, but the execution. “ Pakistan need to lift themselves up and I hope they bring their best on Sunday,” concluded Waqar. — Courtesy ICC
“Pakistan’s track record is very mixed, but that’s all gone. That’s all history. It’s a new game, a new day,” insisted Waqar. Pakistan have got to take positives out of what they did to India in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy a couple of years ago. They must think positively going into this game.”
“I hope they have got their best game in the locker for India, who showed against Australia that they are a very fine side. What I have seen in this World Cup so far is that if you don’t pick up early wickets, you’re in trouble. The new ball is so crucial and openers are being more careful in the first ten overs this year,” observed Waqar.
“Pakistan is not really going full throttle, they are being a bit more watchful. It was with the new ball, in both batting and bowling, that I felt Pakistan missed a trick in their defeat to Australia at Taunton.
“Early on, we were not really sharp enough and Sarfaraz Ahmed was not on his toes. Mohammad Amir didn’t get any support from the other end,” said the ace fast bowler who formed a lethal pair with the legendary Wasim Akram. “But i must say Pakistan pulled it back very nicely. They were sharp after 25 overs and started picking up wickets. They found the right lengths.
“Amir bowled superbly. He showed us all his cutters, variations and short pitched deliveries. I think we all know Amir is mentally very, very strong. He showed once again that class is permanent — he is no doubt a match-winner,” he said.
“Shadab is the key man in this side and I think they will look to bring him back in against India. They might go for five bowlers, use four pacers and Shadab and drop someone like Shoaib Malik.” — Courtesy ICC
Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2019