Friday Jun 14, 2019
MANCHESTER: Pakistan's former captain and "Swing ka Sultan" Wasim Akram has termed India as favourites for Sunday's World Cup match against Pakistan at the Old Trafford Ground in Manchester.
Speaking to Geo.tv, the former captain said his heart wants Pakistan to win this match but his mind sees India winning the match as the Indians have depth in batting and their bowling also looks good.
"Its 70-30 in India's favour," Wasim said when he was asked to forecast the match.
"India has depth in their batting, their bowling is also good. Kumar and Bumrah are in good form. So, overall India looks a very good side," the former captain said ahead of the ICC World Cup 2019 game in Manchester.
The two former World Champions and South Asian neighbours are set to take on each other on June 16 with Pakistan still looking for its first World Cup win against the Indians.
When asked why Pakistan has been unable to win any World Cup match against India, Wasim didn't have an answer. He, however, added that players shouldn't have past records in their mind when they take on India and only think about the match they're playing on the day.
"This 'why' doesn't have an answer," Wasim responded to the question.
"These are the stats to be discussed on the media, but players don't think much about them, and they shouldn't be thinking about them either. They must remain focused on the game they're playing on that day," he said.
Wasim suggested that Pakistan could take advantage of Shikhar Dhawan's absence from the Indian line-up, saying that India would miss his presence to some extent.
"India has depth in batting but Dhawan scored a century in the previous game and he played with full determination and scored a hundred with an injury. India will also miss left-hand, right-hand combination which otherwise would've haunted Pakistani bowlers," he said.
Wasim also suggested that captain Sarfaraz should lead the team bravely and fearlessly.
"What maximum can happen? Removal from captaincy? That's it!" Wasim asked, adding that Sarfaraz must lead the team with a fearless approach and everyone would stand behind the captain.
"Captain must know that he'll be blamed if the team isn't doing well. No one will question the coach or anyone else," he said.
Wasim advised that Pakistan should finalise its playing XI a day before the game and inform the players if they're playing the next day as it would allow them to prepare mentally.
He also emphasised on bowling at the right length against India.
"Pakistani bowlers didn't bowl on length against Australia. Other than Aamir, no bowler could really trouble them. I hope Pakistan brings Shadab back in the squad," he said.
"Pakistan will still miss a fifth bowler. Hafeez and Malik playing the role of the fifth bowler will give some advantage to Indian batting but you don't have much options…that’s the 15 you're here with,” the former captain said while adding that he would still have had Faheem Ashraf in the World Cup squad despite his poor form.