Akhtar warns against writing off Pakistan ahead of Australia tour

The former pacer claimed that an attacking mindset could tip the balance towards the Men in Green

Akhtar warns against writing off Pakistan ahead of Australia tour PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan’s legendary former pacer Shoaib Akhtar, in a Youtube video, has warned against writing Pakistan off ahead of their tour of Australia. The former pacer believed that the Men in Green had the ammunition to cause an upset down under.

Akhtar claimed that an attacking mindset could tip the balance towards the Men in Green as opposed to a defensive strategy.

“Pakistan has all the ammunition to upset or give a tough time to Australia. So I am not losing any hope on Pakistan. Most people are writing Pakistan off. But I think that if they aren’t defensive as far as captaincy is concerned and if they attack Australia bravely, then the situation will be very different,” said Akhtar.

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The former pacer believes that a fightback based on the performances of youngsters could act as a catalyst for the team and stated that underestimating Pakistan would be a big mistake.

“Pakistan giving a fightback with a younger team can send them skyrocketing as far as performances are concerned. The younger players will get valuable lessons from the tour. Their fitness levels will be tested. Everyone is underestimating Pakistan. This is a big mistake,” he said.

The 44-year-old also expressed confidence in the selection of the team for the tour however he pointed out some omissions that he believed could have had a major impact.

“This time the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and chief selector have announced a good squad with a progressive thinking approach. I do have some reservations against the batting order though as I believe wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal should have been selected for the Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is). Veteran all-rounders Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik should also have been selected but the PCB has chosen to look the other way,” he said.

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The former pacer believed the exclusion of former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed from the T20I side was a grave injustice and advised the wicketkeeper-batsman to make a mark based on his performances.

“The worst news is for Sarfaraz who was dropped from all the matches. This was not the right decision. I think he has won 28 out of the 35 matches he played as captain. It is an injustice to strip him of the T20 captaincy,” he said. “I would suggest Sarfaraz to make a strong comeback. He should make a statement as a player now based on his performances. I really think that he can make it back.”

Akhtar claimed that the key to extract the most out of the young pacers was managing their workload by refraining from overtraining them and allowing them to bowl as fast as possible.

“The pick of the squad has to be fast-bowler Naseem Shah. I would suggest the management to not drain out or over-train the young pacers. They should also be given a license to bowl at express pace. No one wants to see defensive captaincy. I hope we can see an authoritative captaincy. When it comes to bowling they should attack,” he concluded.