Former fast bowler Aaqib Javed believes that India are likely to easily roll over Pakistan when the two sides meet in the upcoming T20 World Cup on October 24 in Dubai. He has also termed Virat Kohli’s side as firm favourites for the tournament.
Aaqib Javed highlighted that the Indian team boasts of some exceptionally talented cricketers, who on their day can win games single-handedly. However, he reckons Babar Azam’s team would have to play out of their skin to defeat their arch-rivals. Pakistan have never beaten India in a T20 or ODI World Cup encounter.
“For India, they don’t need to peak. They can just play normally, to their strengths and still beat Pakistan. But if Pakistan are to win, they have to play better than their best cricket that day. So at the moment, they appear the favourites.
“India have Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul… so many match-winners. Jasprit Bumrah is such a terrific bowler. If you look at their overall team, they look favourites to win the World Cup,” Aaqib Javed told Sana Ajmal on her YouTube channel.
If Pakistan are to win, they need to make a few changes to their squad: Aaqib Javed
Aaqib Javed understands that while it would be extremely tough for Pakistan to conquer India, they can still spring up a surprise with a few changes. One of which, he opined, is to rope in Fakhar Zaman back in the squad. The left-handed opener, who scored a hundred in the 2017 Champions Trophy final, is not in the 15-man squad but is a travelling reserve.
“Although India are favourites to beat Pakistan, things can turn out slightly different on that day. If Pakistan are to win, they need to make a few changes to their squad. For example, Fakhar Zaman should definitely be brought in because some players always perform well against certain teams,” he added.
The 49-year-old further pointed out that if the key batsmen in the team – Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, and Mohammad Hafeez – step up and provide enough runs on the board for their talented pacers, then Pakistan stands a chance to make a game for themselves versus India.
“For Pakistan, the T20 World Cup is one thing and playing India is another altogether. Fakhar played an aggressive innings at the Champions Trophy. If he is included and he fires, Babar, Rizwan scores some runs, Babar gets going, or even someone like Hafeez makes a mark, these four batsmen can score against quality bowling in pressure situations.
“In the bowling department, on a good day, we have Shaheen Afridi, Hasan Ali, Haris Sohail, Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan. So the bowling is decent which can even surprise. But on that day, you best batsmen and strike bowlers will have to perform exceptionally well,” Aaqib Javed concluded.
India and Pakistan are clubbed alongside New Zealand, Afghanistan, and two other teams who will qualify from Round 1, together in the Super 12 stage.