Asia Cup: Ravi Shastri gives special advice to players before India-Pakistan match, Akram appeals to fans


New Delhi: All eyes are on the Asia Cup T20 cricket match between India and Pakistan (IND vs PAK) to be held on August 28. Earlier, Pakistan’s great fast bowler Wasim Akram has urged the cricket lovers of both the countries to treat it like just a cricket match. The Asia Cup will start from August 27 and the next day the teams of title contenders India and Pakistan will face each other.

Akram said in a virtual press conference, ‘Everyone’s eyes are on this match because people are not used to seeing these two teams playing together, so they are waiting for this match. I would like to request the cricket lovers of both the countries to take it as just a cricket match in which one team will lose and one will win.

Akram said the Pakistan team has rejuvenated after defeating India in the T20 World Cup last year and will come with renewed confidence. He said, ‘Pakistan’s spirits have been raised after defeating India in the T20 World Cup last year. It is a young team but is playing consistently well. The middle order can be the weak link in which no one except Iftikhar Ahmed has experience.

He admitted that Pakistan was dealt a blow with pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi being ruled out due to injury. “Shaheen will be sorely missed by Pakistan as he is an expert in taking wickets with the new ball. He has been consistently performing well and is among the top three fast bowlers in the world. But he has a knee injury and it will take time to recover.

Shastri also agreed with him saying, ‘India has always been troubled by left-arm fast bowlers. Left-arm fast bowlers are very important as they can turn the game around in 2-3 overs like Wasim Akram did in the 1992 World Cup final.

Former India head coach Ravi Shastri also advised the players to stay away from the hype created on social media and said, ‘I would tell the players to focus on their game and stay away from social media hype.’

The Indian team will go without coach Rahul Dravid in the initial matches, who will not be able to go to Dubai at the moment due to Corona infection. Shastri, however, said it would not make much difference. He said, ‘First of all, I would say that now don’t call it corona, it is just a flu. He will be fine after taking medicine and hopefully will be with the team before the India-Pakistan match.

When asked about the team composition, he said that the playing XI can be selected only after looking at the situation, it is meaningless to speculate a week before. Describing Hardik Pandya as the most important player for India, he said, “His role will be very important as he gives balance to the team. We missed it in the World Cup last year when he was not able to bowl. I believe that there is a need to be very careful with the workload management of players like Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik to keep them safe from injuries before the World Cup.

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