IND vs SL: Giving India A Chance Was Like Committing Suicide: Shoaib Akhtar

Updated - 12 Sep 2023, 02:34 PM

India National Cricket Team, Shoaib Akhtar
India National Cricket Team. Image Credits: BCCI

Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has expressed his surprise over Babar Azam’s decision to bowl first after winning the toss against India in the crucial Super 4 clash of the ongoing Asia Cup 2023.

Teams batting first at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo have historically dominated the games. More than 50 percent of the ODIs played at the venue have been won by the teams batting first. However, Babar Azam decided to ignore the history and opted to bowl first.

But it did not take the Pakistan skipper long to regret his decision as India made a stunning start. Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill helped the team cross the 100-run mark in only the 14th over and the Men in Blue did not look back after that. Both the openers scored fine fifties before Virat Kohli and KL Rahul’s unbeaten centuries helped the team post a mammoth total of 356 runs for just 2 wickets in 50 overs.

Pakistan were no match for India with the bat too. After failing with the ball, the Men in Green performed poorly with the bat too, and were all out for just 128. Kuldeep Yadav was the star with the ball, taking 5 wickets for just 25 runs. The 228-run win is now India’s biggest win over Pakistan in terms of runs.

Shoaib Akhtar criticizes Babar Azam’s captaincy:

Shoaib Akhtar could not hide his disappointment after his country’s loss and called it a ‘humiliating loss’. He then stated that opting to field first on a good batting track is a worrying sign for the Men in Green. He, however, was quick to point out that one cannot write off a team like Pakistan after just one match.

“This is a humiliating loss. It is a worrying sign that Pakistan opted to field first on such a good batting wicket, it seemed really odd to me. We cannot write off Pakistan after just one poor performance, and the same case with India as well,” Shoaib Akhtar said on his YouTube channel.

He also expressed his concerns over the injuries sustained by pacers Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf during the game. While Rauf did not come out on the field on the reserve day after sustaining a side strain on the first day of the match, Naseem walked off the field while bowling his final over after feeling pain in his bowling shoulder.

“A worrying sign is the injuries to Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah. To be fair, it is not their fault. They have played like 12 or 13 ODIs this year up until now. Back in the days, Wasim and Waqar used to bowl like 500-600 overs in a season, what is 10 overs compared to that. The new players don’t have the muscle memory in them to bowl second spells,” said Shoaib Akhtar.

“Pakistan should make a strong comeback, and I think they will make a strong comeback. The decision-making is very important, whether it be winning the toss and deciding what to do or the bowling changes. You should be smart enough as the management, captain, or player to make the right choice. Bowling first on a flat track and giving India a chance was like committing suicide,” Shoaib Akhtar added.

Pakistan will lock horns against Sri Lanka in their final Super 4 game. They will have to win the contest to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the Asia Cup final.


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