Hayden, Shastri sing praises of Pakistan’s bowling arsenal ahead of India match
By News Desk
September 1, 2023 04:38 PM
As the Asia Cup 2023 reaches a fever pitch, former cricketing legends, Matthew Hayden and Ravi Shastri, have expressed their admiration for the Pakistan cricket team. Their remarks come ahead of the much-anticipated clash between arch-rivals Pakistan and India, set to unfold in Kandy.
Hayden, the former Australian opener, emphasised the significance of Pakistan's pace spearhead, Shaheen Afridi. Reminding of Afridi's game-changing ball that dismissed Indian skipper Rohit Sharma in the 2021 T20 World Cup, Hayden remarked to Star Sports, "You've got to be conservative against Shaheen Afridi. We'll never forget that ball that he bowled to Rohit Sharma. If it's swinging, look to play out those first three overs.”
Hayden also showered accolades on Pakistan's other pace assets, Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf. “India is playing against Pakistan's pace trio - one of the spiciest competitions on the planet. They are unique bowlers, which require unique plans from Team India,” the Australian cricketer noted.
Ravi Shastri, the esteemed Indian commentator and former cricketer, further cemented Pakistan's standing. He acknowledged the narrowing gap between the two cricketing giants, stating, "Pakistan have narrowed the gap. Seven-eight years ago, there was a difference, but now they are a very good side."
Shastri also lauded Pakistan's captain Babar Azam, stressing on his consistency in converting starts into substantial scores. "Babar converts those 30s and 40s into hundreds. It's so crucial. If one of your top three gets a hundred, you're looking at 300-plus,” Shastri asserted.
However, Shastri has named the Men in Blue as favourites against Pakistan.
Both Pakistan and India are warming up for their face-off, with Pakistan already showcasing their dominance through a 238-run victory over Nepal. As India prepares to commence their Asia Cup journey against Pakistan, historical stats reveal a close contest, with India having a slight edge.
Yet, considering Pakistan's previous heroics, such as Shahid Afridi's unforgettable last-over sixes in Mirpur 2014, the forthcoming contest promises to be a thriller. The Asia Cup 2023, split between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, is eagerly followed by fans globally. While political tensions have restricted India's matches to Sri Lanka, the spirit of the game remains undeterred.
As cricket enthusiasts await the face-off in Kandy and potentially two more encounters if both teams progress, the appraisals from global cricketing stalwarts have only amplified the excitement.