Gambhir urges caution against ‘dangerous’ Pakistan
Former India’s opening batsman Gautam Gambhir has warned other teams to be wary of Babar Azam-led Pakistan in the upcoming International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 World Cup.
The mega-event is set to begin on October 17 and it will be played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman.
The Men-in-Green are placed in Group 2 alongside arch-rivals India, New Zealand, Afghanistan and two teams will be decided from the qualifying stage.
Gambhir, who represented the Men-in-Blue in 58 Tests, 147 ODIs and 37 T20Is and scored 10,324 runs which included 20 centuries and 63 half-centuries, while talking to Star Sports as quoted by Cricket Pakistan, expressed his opinion that the Green Caps have the ability to upset any opposition in the tournament.
“They [Pakistan] have always been a dangerous side,” said the 39-year-old. “They have always been a very unpredictable side, and that is why Pakistan cricket is what Pakistan cricket is. They can go on to beat anyone and lose to anyone. That is how they’ve always played their cricket. It is not just now, it’s been there for years and years, and they’ve got some quality players.”
Gambhir, who also played a key role in the team’s success in the maiden ICC World T20 in 2007, further went on to praise skipper Babar and star left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi.
“You’ve got people like Babar Azam and Shaheen Shah Afridi, who can swing the ball at 140 and is left armed; he is tall, he gets that bounce,” he said. “They’ve got some raw pacers as well, they’ve got Haris Rauf, who can bowl 140-145, so you can never underestimate, plus this is that kind of a tournament. T20 format is such where you got no time to make a comeback. So, you have to be on your toes, and when you’ve got quality players on the other side, you can’t take them lightly, and they have nothing to lose.”
India will face Pakistan in the most anticipated encounter of the competition on October 24 in Dubai.
Talking about the high-intensity affair, Gambhir was of the opinion that despite the Virat Kohli-led unit’s superiority in the past, they have to be on ‘toes’ to face their arch-rivals.
“India’s got a fabulous record against Pakistan, and whatever they talk about, the pressure’s going to be on India — that’s all media created stuff,” he said. “Again, India is a far better side than Pakistan. So, this format is such where you got to be on your toes and got to get, you’re A-game forward.”
Ramiz Raja wants us to play attacking cricket: Shadab Khan
Pakistan vice-captain Shadab Khan has revealed that upcoming chairman Ramiz Raja has urged the team to play attacking cricket in the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup.
The 59-year-old is set to take charge of the cricketing affairs in the country on September 13 where he is widely expected to be elected as the next chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
Raja has been very active in the recent past where he met the chief selector Mohammad Wasim and captain Babar Azam to discuss plans moving forwards.
Shadab, while talking to the media in a virtual press conference on Thursday, revealed that Raja urged the team to play fearless cricket.
“We met with Ramiz Raja recently,” he said. “The main motive of the meeting was for Ramiz bhai to tell us what sort of cricket needs to be played. We know how long he has been commentating on the sport and understands the game. The result of the meeting was him communicating to everyone that he wants us to play aggressive and modern-day cricket.
“Everyone knows that when Babar Azam was made captain, he and I discussed how we needed to take the team towards modern-day cricket. Even though we don’t have the results, we are trying to develop a culture that takes us closer to modern-day cricket. Hopefully, we will also get better results in the future.”
Talking about the team selected for the mega-event, which has received a lot of criticism from different quarters of the media, the Islamabad United captain remained tight-lipped.
“The job to select a side and the players is with the selection committee and chief selector,” said the star all-rounder. “They have already explained the details of their selection process.”
Pakistan cricket recently suffered a major blow as head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and bowling coach Waqar Younis resigned from their respective roles less than two months before the start of the ICC T20 World Cup.
Talking about that, the start all-rounder was of the opinion that he would not like to comment on the development but admitted that their decision left the team in turmoil.
“It [the decision to step down] was their [Misbahul Haq and Waqar Younis] personal decision and I cannot comment on that,” he said. “But it is not an ideal situation. Our focus is on doing the things that are in our control in the right manner. We don’t want to think about the what-ifs of the situation. With the world cup approaching, our focus is to prepare ourselves for it. If we think about it then it can bring negativity in the team.”
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