Pressure on India ahead of Pakistan World Cup clash: Saqlain

Former off-spinner believes Men in green should play fearless cricket against arch-rivals

Pressure on India ahead of Pakistan World Cup clash: Saqlain PHOTO: AFP

Former Pakistan cricketer Saqlain Mushtaq believes India will be under pressure as they start as favourites in their clash against Pakistan in the 2019 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup at Manchester on June 16.

While talking to Cricket Pakistan in an exclusive interview, Mushtaq said that Men in Green should approach the game against arch-rivals with a nothing to lose mindset.

“The pressure should be on India as everyone expects them to win,” said Saqlain. “Pakistan should play fearless and attacking cricket with controlled aggression to beat this Indian team.”

However, the 42-year old stressed that the Kohli-led side is better in all departments compared to Pakistan.

“As a Pakistani I want Pakistan to win, however if you do a player to player comparison between both sides, India is far superior and will be favourites to win,” he said. “India have all their bases covered as they possess the best batsmen, spinners, finishers and pacers.”

Mushtaq believes that Pakistan leg-spinner Shadab Khan still has a lot to learn when it comes to picking wickets.

“Shadab is a good bowler, however he can improve further if he plays the longer version of the game,” he said. “He concentrates more on containing runs rather than picking wickets. By playing test cricket, he will learn how to set up and trap batsmen and will be able to add more tricks in his armoury.”

Former off-spinner also said that if provided an opportunity, he will be available to serve Pakistan cricket.

“I have ample coaching experience under my belt now, as I have done coaching stints with New Zealand, Australia, Bangladesh, West Indies and England,” he said. “However my heart is with Pakistan, so if given a chance, I would love to help out Pakistan spinners.”

Mushtaq strongly believes that there should be no restriction on the presence of cricketer’s families on tour.

“Cricketers should be allowed to travel with their families as it keeps them relaxed, focussed and disciplined. These things are essential for any cricketer to enjoy his cricket,” he said.