Asia Cup 2022: Experts praise Pakistan team after narrow loss to India
Asia Cup 2022: Severe criticism of Babar Azam-led Pakistan is expected after a loss to India but after Sunday’s close Asia Cup loss to their bitter rivals, the experts were more forgiving.
“The reaction to losing to India has not been the usual criticism because in the build up to the match the camaraderie shown by players of both teams towards each other was brilliant while our team also fought hard till the final over,” Pakistan’s former captain Moin Khan said.
Millions of Pakistan people watched the game despite the sad deaths and destruction brought on by the country’s widespread flash floods and relentless monsoon rains.
Big screens were constructed all throughout Karachi for the game, which had an exciting conclusion.
“It was a great match and closely fought. And I think the Pakistan team even without Shaheen Shah Afridi performed like a champion. Unfortunately we missed the services of a fourth pace bowler,” former Test spinner Iqbal Qasim said.
He claimed Pakistan may have won the game if they had scored an additional 15-20 runs.
“Our young pace bowlers specially Naseem Shah and Shahnawaz Dahani bowled brilliantly and with so much heart. It was so inspiring to see Naseem completing his final over despite having severe cramps,” Qasim said.
Former Pakistan wicketkeeper batsman Kamran Akmal commended Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja for their overall performances, stating that they made up the majority of the disparity between the two teams.
“I think they performed very well under pressure. Hardik in particular was fabulous in bowling and batting. He is truly a champion all-rounder now,” Kamran said.
Former fast bowlers Aaqib Javed and Sikander Bakht also commended Hardik and Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s efforts, claiming they had a good sense of the surface.
“The use of the short pitched ball was well thought out and it paid them rich dividends. The wicket of Babar Azam and Virat Kohli’s dropped catch in the first over of Naseem were key moments,” Aaqib said.
Sikander had some criticism for Haris Rauf’s final two overs of bowling. “Instead of trying to bowl yorkers he was trying to go hard length and short pitch against Hardik who is a very good puller of the ball,” he said.
Aaqib claimed that the absence of an all-rounder like Hardik. He provided the Indian team with such balance, was Pakistan’s biggest challenge in white ball cricket.
Former captain Shahid Afridi remarked that one may anticipate a competitive game when two big and good teams face off.
“But Pakistan performed hard till the end, which is a great sign. I thought Naseem and Muhammad Nawaz really bowled well.”
Head coach and former Test great Javed Miandad observed that India had carried out the dismissal of Babar strategy flawlessly.
“It is very difficult to get Babar out in the V so they went for the surprise short ball & they got him. Babar not scoring big runs made a big difference. But I think our bowlers really performed well. And that is a good sign to have such enthusiastic and energetic pace bowlers.”
Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar, two former Pakistani greats, have different opinions on the game.
Wasim said Babar erred by keeping spinner Muhammad Nawaz back for the final over. But Shoaib believed both teams had played subpar cricket and had made every effort to lose the game.
“In the end both teams played bad cricket and it was Hardik who made the big difference,” Akhtar said.