Former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar believes England did not take the men in green as seriously in the first T20I in Nottingham on Friday. Pakistan made their highest T20Is score on Friday of 232; however, despite England’s best efforts, they fell 31 runs short. Shoaib Akhtar stated that Pakistan is one of the best T20 teams in the world.
Pakistan set England a mammoth 233 to win by stitching an opening stand of 150 between Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan. Pakistan captain and their batting mainstay Babar Azam top-scored with 85, while keeper-batsman Rizwan made 60. The likes of Fakhar Zaman and Mohammad Hafeez also crafted crucial cameos. In reply, Liam Livingstone’s 62-ball 103 was the highlight for England, but it was not enough.
Shoaib Akhtar reckoned that England forgot Pakistan is one of the best T20 teams today and tipped them as one of the favourites to win the T20 World Cup. The Rawalpindi Express reminded that with the UAE as the hosts for the World Cup, England will not have it easy. Akhtar stated that England have to take it seriously and know that Pakistan will not lie down.
“England may have underestimated the Pakistan team. Maybe they didn’t understand that Pakistan is one of the best T20 teams in the world. It shouldn’t come as a surprise if Pakistan wins the T20 World Cup this year. England needs to realize that the World Cup is going to be in the UAE and it is not going to be easy for them. They need to take it very seriously before going to the World Cup and they need to understand that Pakistan are no pushovers,” Akhtar told in his Youtube channel.
Babar Azam showed what he can do if he gets time at the crease: Shoaib Akhtar
Shoaib Akhtar heaped praises on Babar Azam for playing a scintillating knock and showing what he could do if given time at the crease. But the 45-year old believes that the Pakistan skipper could come down the order and take more responsibility or play as a finisher.
“Babar Azam showed what he can do if he gets time at the crease and if he takes more responsibility. To become a bigger player and take more responsibility he can think of coming down the order at No.3 or No.4 and look to perform the role of a finisher,” he added.