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2017 ICC Champions Trophy: An Opportunity For Players To Become Hero In India–Pakistan Clash, Says Azhar Mahmood 

2017 ICC Champions Trophy: An Opportunity For Players To Become Hero In India–Pakistan Clash, Says Azhar Mahmood
Pakistan bowling coach on Pak-Aus ODI series. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Pakistan fast bowling coach Azhar Mahmood, who announced international retirement in 2007, believes his national team has a chance to seize a win against formidable Indian team in the upcoming 2017 ICC Champions Trophy event, adding that players have a great opportunity to emerge as heroes during the mouth-watering clash on June 4 at Edgbaston in Birmingham.

“These matches are a great opportunity for players to shine and become heroes whether they are a veteran or a newcomer,” Azhar Mahmood wrote in his column for PakPassion.Net.

Interestingly, the Rawalpindi-born experienced campaigner Mahmood revealed India-Pakistan matches are high-octane and every player always wants to chip-in and compensate for each other while yearning for desired results.

“There is never a dull moment in these matches wherever the match is played and whoever holds their nerve and whoever can take the pressure will come out as the winner,” Mahmood maintained.

Mahmood, who has played 143 One-day Internationals for Pakistan while making his debut in 1996 at Toronto against the arch-rivals recollected that he always wanted to perform and get noticed by his sheer hard work.

“I remember my debut against India and I thought this is the time for me to perform and I thought that if I can perform in this game then I can become a hero,” Azhar stated.

Mahmood, who claimed 143 ODI wickets and scored 1,521 runs for Pakistan before joining English County Club Surrey feels expectations are always high for a game like India versus Pakistan while revealing Virat Kohli-led side is stronger with the bat, whereas, Pakistan has shown a promise with the ball.

“Expectations are always huge and it’s a game which is usually won in the mind. India’s batting is strong and our bowling is strong so it promises to be a great occasion with both teams standing a good chance of winning,” Azhar added.

The 42-year-old former all-rounder has also praised national team’s fast bowling trio of Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali and Mohammad Abbas.

“He [Mohammad Abbas] has been a consistent and very good performer in domestic cricket and has a very wise head on young shoulders,” Mahmood wrote.

While praising skiddy Hasan Ali, Mahmood tips him as a future of Pakistan cricket, as his ward has a desire to learn it on.

“I like this [Hasan Ali] guy’s attitude. He wants to play, he wants to learn, he wants to do well and he wants to perform well for the team and for himself. He has the perfect attitude and exactly the attitude you want from your players,” Mahmood expressed while terming Ali fittest than before as a bowler.

Mahmood expressed his satisfaction over the way Mohammad Amir has been bowling after making his return to international cricket. He feels Amir has got better after while being the part of the West Indies series.

“[Mohammad] Amir was with me at the Pakistan Super League and we worked on a few things regarding his bowling and the improvements were evident in the series against West Indies where he consistently bowled well,” Mahmood said on Amir’s performance.

Mahmood added Wahab Riaz has been working hard to avoid bowling no-balls and bring some energy in the ICC’s event which is jointly hosted by England and Wales from June 1.

“People have to remember that I do not have a magic wand where I can transform any bowler. We are working hard with Wahab and the results are gradually coming and improvements are visible,” Mahmood concluded.

Mahmood himself had played 21 Tests for Pakistan followed by 319 List A games and 176 first-class matches in the domestic circuit.

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