ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistan stars on Friday pinned hopes on skipper Shahid Afridi to repeat his all-round skills for the second time running when national team take on traditional rivals India in the eagerly-awaited clash of the World Twenty20 in Kolkata on Saturday.
The ex-stalwarts believe Afridi can play key role in Pakistan’s all-important group match against their arch-rivals.
Afridi, who has been under fire after his team’s poor showing in the recently-held Asia Cup T20, played superbly both with bat and ball against Bangladesh in Pakistan’s World T20 opener in Kolkata on Wednesday.
Batting legend Javed Miandad says he wants Afridi to repeat his heroics of the Bangladesh match when time comes for Saturday’s high-voltage encounter against India.
“Afridi has to bat up the order. He must get maximum overs. He can be a terror,” Miandad emphasised.
The former cricket great also praised Kolkata crowd. “Kolkata has only sports-loving people, they are passionate. Sports should not be a war as the world makes fun of us [when we behave this way],” Miandad added.
Fast bowling icon Wasim Akram thinks Pakistan will psychologically be in a better frame of mind in the match against India.
“Pakistan are going into the game after a convincing win in their opening match. So psychologically they will have an edge over the Indians who suffered defeat in their first match to New Zealand,” noted Wasim.
He also asked Pakistan team to adopt an attacking strategy against India.
“If Pakistan manage to get dismissals, a couple of wickets, in power play, they will be in a position to push India onto the backfoot,” he remarked.
Former Test captain and opener Aamir Sohail feels Pakistan bowlers will have to work hard in the high-profile encounter.
“If India win the toss and bat first then our bowlers would have to take early wickets in order to restrict the India to a cheap total,” he said.
“But if our batsmen are put to test first then they will have to take the responsibility and show some real performance like they did in the match against Bangladesh,” Aamir insisted.
In case of a flat pitch Pakistan will have an edge over the arch-rivals. “But if they prepare a turning pitch then India will have upper hand,” he said.
Test skipper Misbah-ul-Haq reckons Pakistan can win the World T20 if Afridi performs consistently in the whole tournament.
“Afridi needs to fire constantly if Pakistan want to salvage a chance of clinching the title once again. If Afridi keeps going like this as he performed against Bangladesh, then Pakistan can win the World T20,” Misbah said.
Courtesy : Dawn News