2017 ICC Champions Trophy: Shane Bond Admits Unpredictable Pakistan Has ‘Proven Him Wrong’
Former New Zealand fast bowler Shane Bond, who’s the Brand Ambassador for the International Cricket Council (ICC) for the ongoing 2017 ICC Champions Trophy, has made an admission that he was taken by surprise by Pakistan’s all-round performance against in-form England in Cardiff, to become the first team to qualify for their first-ever semi-final in the eight-nation tournament.
“I must say I am surprised, at not just the fact that Pakistan got the better of England, but also the way it did so. The margin of victory – by eight wickets with nearly 13 overs to spare – is as comprehensive as you can get, and is indicative of the quality of cricket the two sides portrayed on the day,” Bond wrote for ICC Digital.
While seeing the good prospect in left-handed batsman Fakhar Zaman, Bond further revealed England would be gutted with their performance after coming hard at the three different oppositions in the Group A stage as he concede Pakistan has a chance to lift the coveted trophy.
“Credit to Pakistan, and now it has every chance of winning the competition,” Bond remarked.
The 42-year-old Christchurch-born Bond has hailed Men in Green after registering a remarkable eight-wicket comprehensive win against Eoin Morgan-led England, as he further talked about the instinct shown by players after winning a close encounter against Sri Lanka.
“Composed. Clinical. Thoroughly professional. These are not necessarily words that one would associate with Pakistan, but displaying these very traits in abundance, Pakistan tore the form book to shreds,” Bond further said.
As many criticized the decision of Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed after the latter decided to bowl first, the right-arm fast bowler Bond termed it ‘interesting one’ while considering the fact Pakistan has had a decent bowling line-up to rely on before adding had it been Morgan, he would be opted to bat first.
“The Pakistani bowlers have got the skill, there are a number of wicket-taking options and they proved too good for England,” Bond asserted.
However, talking about the 124-run drubbing of Pakistan against India, Bond stated the side has been boosted following three straight wins against England, Sri Lanka and South Africa which further saw bowling spearhead Mohammad Amir sitting out in the crucial game due to back spasm against England.
“For Pakistan to win, thus, and to do so without Mohammad Amir, will be massive for its confidence. To get a hiding in the first game, like it generally does against India, can knock your confidence out, but it has shown steel and resolve to bounce back from that defeat,” Bond further wrote.
Bond, who has played pivotal role for the New Zealand during his international stint, has effusively praised Azhar Ali and Sarfraz Ahmed for showing the great character while adding the unpredictable side is capable of chasing down the modest totals, as the team has perfect blend of youth and mixture.
“Azhar Ali and Sarfraz himself are fine players, and the blend of experienced hands and new players meant Pakistan had the resources to chase down that modest target,” Bond maintained.
In his write-up Bond revealed Sarfraz was spot on with his changes and the decision before fielders were charging on the ball which further saw a run-out affected by substitute Ahmed Shehzad.
Injury-marred Bond featured in 82 One-day Internationals, 20 Twenty20 Internationals. He had bagged 147 wickets in 50-over format, followed by 87 wickets in Tests and 25 wickets in T20Is.
Tahir Ibn Manzoor