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Raja picks six players to watch for in Pakistan, Bangladesh T20I series

The former opener compared fast-bowler Haris Rauf’s rise to England’s pacer Jofra Archer’s debut

PHOTO: Reuters

Pakistan’s former opener-turned-commentator Ramiz Raja, in a Youtube video on Tuesday, named three players each from Pakistan and Bangladesh who could make their mark in the upcoming series between the two sides.

 The 57-year-old praised the talent of Babar who, he believed, lacked in the power-hitting department early in his career but is now the complete package.

“Babar Azam has a lot of talent. Now the world is also accepting this fact. His stats are staggering. He plays safe cricket. He has a wide range of shots and can hit the big ones as well. Initially it seemed that he was lacking in the power hitting department but not anymore. Babar can prove to be a one man army for Pakistan,” Raja said.

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The former opener compared fast-bowler Haris Rauf’s rise to England’s pacer Jofra Archer’s, while praising fast-bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi who, he believed, is destined for stardom.

“Haris Rauf is very similar to Jofra Archer in terms of their debut series. He has already created quite a buzz and gotten selected for Pakistan due to his prolific performances in the Big Bash League (BBL). He has speed and smartness that can help Pakistan greatly. He can be used at all points of the match as an aggressive weapon,” he said.  “Shaheen Shah is a complete bowler. Since he has started producing the inswinging slant, it has become really hard to play him. For a left-armer the inswinging angle is very important. This causes unpredictability and gets in the mind of the batsmen. I think stardom is knocking at the gates for Shaheen,” he said.

Raja also named three players from Bangladesh who could cause problems for Pakistan in their upcoming series.

“Mustafizur Rahman, Tamim Iqbal, and captain Mahmudullah could prove very tough for Pakistan. We will have to keep an out for these three,” he said. “Mustafizur has fizz, he is young and energetic. He has phenomenal one day stats. He has a great change of pace. His seam up delivery is also strong because of his pace. The left-arm angle also helps him significantly. He is the complete package and a complete bowler. His form will be integral to Bangladesh’s chances.”

The former opener believed that senior batsman Tamim Iqbal and captain Mahmudullah were vital for Bangladesh’s chances in the series.

“Tamim Iqbal is an elegant left-handed batsman. He has experience and plays spin very well. He looks good while attacking. In T20 cricket the start is always important. He usually gives his team great starts. If he gets going, he can create a lot of problems for Pakistan. Mahmudullah’s form is vital for Bangladesh. Apart from being the captain, his spot in the lower middle-order can make or break the momentum of the match. He is experienced and has made a name for himself. Captaincy sometimes enhances individual performances and I think we can expect the same from him,” he concluded.