Pakistan vs India | Sportzwiki

Pakistan vs India

India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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T20 World Cup 2021: It Would Be Great If India Makes It To The Final With Pakistan, Says Saqlain Mushtaq

Saqlain Mushtaq, Pakistan’s interim head coach, would love it if his team got the opportunity to face India again in the final of the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

Pakistan started their World Cup campaign with a thumping 10-wicket victory over arch-rivals India and then followed it by the resounding win against New Zealand by five wickets. Men in Green are currently unbeaten in the T20I WC, with a perfect two in two records at the showpiece.

Saqlain Mushtaq played international cricket between 1995 and 2004
Saqlain Mushtaq played international cricket between 1995 and 2004 (Reuters)

Saqlain Mushtaq: One Doesn’t Think About Opponent While Coming With A Mindset To Become A World Champion

Saqlain Mushtaq played international cricket between 1995 and 2004. Saqlain Mushtaq, known for introducing the Doosra, in his first full year (1996) with the Pakistan team, established a record for the most ODI wickets in a calendar year (65).

He then did even better the following year, setting a mark (69) that still stands. His impact was so great that he became the fastest bowler in history in terms of time (one year and 225 days) to reach the landmark of 100 ODI wickets, and to this day, no one else has got there in less than two years.

“When you come with a mindset to become a world champion then you don’t think about the opponent.

“You rather think whoever comes in, you do what you have to do and want to do. So we are thinking on the same lines day in and day out that whoever is against us in the next stage we will accept it,” Saqlain Mushtaq said in a virtual press conference on Thursday.

Mohammed Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman
Mohammed Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman

“If you want to become a world champion then you have to live up to the requirements — being tough, being well-prepared, and playing cricket different from the others, and it shows that you are a genuine World Cup winner. If you want to be a world champion then you should be thoroughly [tested] so that the world actually recognizes you.”

On Friday, Pakistan will face a stiff test against one of the best spin attacks in the competition, featuring Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Mohammad Nabi. It’s not a test Pakistan has faced too often: they have met Afghanistan only once in T20Is, beating them with one ball to spare back in 2013, when Rashid Khan and Mujeeb ur Rahman were yet to make their debuts.

Saqlain Mushtaq: It Would Be Great If India Makes It To The Final Of The 2021 T20I WC Alongside Pakistan

Saqlain Mushtaq, Pakistan’s interim head coach, would love it if his team got the opportunity to face India again and beat them again in the T20 World Cup final. He also feels more meetings between the sides will only improve relations between the two neighbours.

“If India makes it to the final with us, it would be a great thing because I feel — and this is not because we became big-headed after beating them — but because they are a strong team, everyone considers them a favourite. England and Australia always play tough cricket too.”

“One doesn’t have results in their hand but what we have in hand is our process, how we plan, our commitment, how we fight and bounce back and things we can control so we don’t focus on results and the opponent. If India comes in the final, then it would be very good for the ICC, fans around the world, and for world cricket — everyone will enjoy it. They are our neighbouring country and playing one more match would only improve our relations,” he pointed.

Pakistan Captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan chased down India's score of 151 in 17.5 overs | Twitter | @WahabViki
Pakistan Captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan chased down India’s score of 151 in 17.5 overs | Twitter | @WahabViki

“Hats off to Dhoni, Virat, Babar, Malik, Dahani, Rizwan, Imad, Hafeez — their picture of hugging and meeting each other after the Pak-India game has sent a strong message to the world about love,” the head coach of Pakistan added.

Pakistan next faces Afghanistan on Friday, followed by matches against Associate teams Namibia and Scotland. Afghanistan had demolished Scotland in their opener to give themselves a considerable net run rate boost and sit just under their neighbours on the points table.

Babar Azam stroked his way to 68 while his opening partner, Mohammad Rizwan, smashed 79 as the Indian bowlers struggled to contain the two batters. Earlier, Virat Kohli’s half-century helped India recover from a disastrous start and post 151/7 against Pakistan in Sunday’s ICC T20 World Cup match.

Haris Rauf celebrates a wicket with his team-mates AFP via Getty Images
Haris Rauf celebrates a wicket with his team-mates AFP via Getty Images
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Brad Hogg Praises Haris Rauf After Pakistan Pacer Picks 4/22 Against New Zealand In Sharjah

Brad Hogg, the former Australian spinner, has praised the new Pakistan pace sensation, Haris Rauf, over the way he has integrated himself and used his potent skills in the ongoing 2021 T20 World Cup. The right-arm fast bowler has already picked up five wickets across two matches and has proved to be a valuable addition to Pakistan’s pace attack.

Brad Hogg noted how Haris Rauf is always in contact discussing how to bowl the next ball with either his skipper or the senior members of his team.  Haris Rauf has been on point with his variations by mixing his slower balls and quick deliveries, no matter what the situation demands.

Pakistan's Haris Rauf celebrates the dismissal of New Zealand's Martin Guptill
Pakistan’s Haris Rauf celebrates the dismissal of New Zealand’s Martin Guptill – Image Source : (AP PHOTO/AIJAZ RAHI)

Brad Hogg: Haris Rauf Listened To His Teammates On How To Bowl Best In Pressured Situations In Matches Against India And New Zealand

Against New Zealand, Pakistan pacer Haris Rauf began the game with a 149 kph yorker that literally took Martin Guptill out of the game. He survived that ball but didn’t field in the second innings. Three of Haris Rauf’s four wickets came through slower deliveries. Haris Rauf led a clinical bowling display with an excellent four-wicket haul to restrict Kiwis to below-par 134/8.

Brad Hogg was a part of two World Cup-winning Australian teams; 2003 and 2007 © Getty Images
Brad Hogg was a part of two World Cup-winning Australian teams; 2003 and 2007 © Getty Images.

While speaking on his YouTube channel, Brad Hogg said: “He knows that he’s raw, a little wet behind the ears, he knows he’s not got much experience and knowledge at the international level.

“So, he’s listening to his teammates out in the middle, like Babar Azam for one, Malik and Hafeez, those experienced players, just to give him the comfort of the ball that he wants to bowl next in those pressure situations. I thought that was brilliant and he did the same thing against New Zealand. You’ve got to adapt and you can adapt.”

Haris Rauf has represented Pakistan in 25 T20Is and eight ODIs and is one of the latest recruits from Pakistan’s vast fast bowling talent pool. He has picked 14 ODI scalps and 33 T20I scalps averaging 29 and 22.69, respectively.

Brad Hogg: Haris Rauf Bowled Slower Balls In A Pattern And Should Change The Same As Opposition Batsmen Won’t Take Time To Decode It

Haris Rauf usually backs his express pace to do the talking and has rarely used the slower ball against the batsmen in the past. However, he showcased the slower ball as a new addition to his repertoire in the T20 World Cup because the conditions in the UAE demand it.

While Brad Hogg felt that the execution of the delivery was brilliant, he noted that Haris Rauf bowled it in a similar pattern and that it would not take long for the batsmen to decode it and prepare for it in advance.

Brad Hogg added: “One thing that he has got to be careful of is that he’s bowling that slower ball in a pattern. He is bowling alternate slower balls, so opposition teams are going to work this out and wait for the slower deliveries. So, he needs to shake up his pattern.”

Shaheen Shah Afridi. File
Shaheen Shah Afridi. File

Haris Rauf was adjudged as the man of the match for his four-wicket haul in the contest against New Zealand in Sharjah. He was impactful in their first contest against India as well, where he kept things tight and uncomfortable for the Indian unit. He returned with figures of 1/25 against India. The Pakistan pacer picked the wickets of Martin Guptill, Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, and Mitchell Santner against Kiwis and Hardik Pandya against India.

In Pakistan’s opening game against India, lanky paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi put India on the back foot from the start with the wickets of openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul off his first seven deliveries. He finished with 3-31 after dismissing India’s top scorer, skipper Virat Kohli for 57 in a total of 151-7 in 20 overs.

Skipper Babar Azam, along with fellow opener Mohammad Rizwan, then knocked off the target of 152 odd in 17.5 overs without losing a single wicket. Babar Azam hit 68, not out, while Mohammed Rizwan finished with an undefeated 79.

Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
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Pakistan Will Help India If They Defeat New Zealand In 2021 T20I World Cup: Aakash Chopra

Aakash Chopra believes a Pakistan win against New Zealand in tonight’s T20 World Cup 2021 encounter will help Team India’s cause.

The Indian team was handed a comprehensive 10-wicket drubbing by Pakistan in their T20 World Cup opener. The Virat Kohli-led side has a week’s break before they take on New Zealand in their second Super 12 encounter on October 31.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra: Pakistan Will Help India’s Cause If They Defeat New Zealand

Aakash Chopra pointed out that the Babar Azam-led side can do Team India a favour by defeating the Kiwis. At the same time, he previewed the Pakistan-New Zealand encounter in a video shared on his YouTube channel.

He explained: “I feel Pakistan will help India if they defeat New Zealand. But if it happens the other way round, New Zealand beats Pakistan, it can be a three-way tie, the net run rate story can come if India beats New Zealand and assuming the three teams win their remaining matches.”

Pakistan Captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan chased down India's score of 151 in 17.5 overs | Twitter | @WahabViki
Pakistan Captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan chased down India’s score of 151 in 17.5 overs | Twitter | @WahabViki

The cricketer-turned-commentator added that Pakistan will have one foot in the semi-finals if they put it across the Black Caps.

Aakash Chopra reasoned: “If Pakistan beat New Zealand, then only Afghanistan will be there in between and two teams who have come from the qualifiers – Scotland and Namibia. Then Pakistan through, make your place in the semi-finals and enjoy.”

Pakistan will almost certainly seal a berth in the knockout stages of the ongoing T20 World Cup with a win tonight. It would leave India and New Zealand to fight it out for the other semi-final spot from the group unless Afghanistan can spring a surprise or two.

Aakash Chopra: Pakistan Will Look For Revenge As They Felt Humiliated When New Zealand Went There And Returned Back Without Playing Any Match

Aakash Chopra highlighted that Pakistan might even be looking for revenge after New Zealand’s last-minute withdrawal from their tour recently.

He observed: “It is slightly a grudge match because Pakistan felt very humiliated when New Zealand went there and returned without giving any reason. So I feel Pakistan may have a point to prove.”

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2021
Pakistan vs New Zealand 2021. Image Credits: Twitter

The 44-year-old concluded by stating that Pakistan seems to be a well-rounded unit with both their bowling and batting coming to the fore.

Aakash Chopra said: “Pakistan is the team on song. They are playing like that, top three were anyway playing well and these conditions are going to suit Hafeez and Shoaib Malik a lot. They are bowling well. The team is looking formidable.”

Pakistan had limited-overs series against England and New Zealand scheduled at home ahead of the T20I World Cup, but the tours never came to fruition. Both boards pulled out at the last minute to tour Pakistan, citing security concerns and the wellbeing of players. New Zealand had even arrived there, but withdrew a few minutes before the toss happened.

New Zealand pulled out of their Pakistan tour even before play started in the 1st ODI in Rawalpindi. The Kiwis left Islamabad on a charter flight the next night. The Pakistan tour was Black Cap’s first tour to the Asian country since 2003, and it was made possible after receiving clearance from their security agency.

A deadly 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore saw Pakistan become a no-go destination for international teams. In between 2012 and 2015, Pakistan hosted England in the UAE, which has staged most of its “home” games since the attack. However, a rapid improvement in security in recent years has led to the return of international cricket, with Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, West Indies, South Africa, and Bangladesh touring in the past six years.

Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan steered Pakistan to a 10-wicket victory against India (PTI).
Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan steered Pakistan to a 10-wicket victory against India (PTI).
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Pakistan Prepared Well And Kept Losing History Out of Mind: Babar Azam

Babar Azam has opened up on his country’s first win over India in any World Cup game as they trumped arch-rivals by ten wickets in a much-anticipated clash in Dubai.

The skipper along with Mohammad Rizwan batted India out of the game, resorting to restrain yet assertive batting.

Babar Azam
Babar Azam (Photo by Aamir QURESHI / AFP via Getty Images)

Babar Azam: Pakistan Kept World Cup History Out Of Their Mind

Babar Azam stroked his way to 68 while his opening partner, Mohammad Rizwan, smashed 79 as the Indian bowlers struggled to contain the two batters Earlier, Virat Kohli’s half-century helped India recover from a disastrous start and post 151/7 against Pakistan in the ICC T20 World Cup match on Sunday.

“We, the openers, kept it simple and built a partnership, and because the wicket was getting better so we just wanted to keep batting till the end, which we did. It won’t get easier just because we beat India. We will take the confidence, but we’re taking it one match at a time, and there’s a long way to go in the tournament,” Babar Azam said in the post-match presentation.

He added that the Pakistan team management paid no heed to ‘history’, referring to his team’s awful record in the past where Pakistan had never beaten India in a World Cup game. The score was 12-0 before they scripted a historic win over arch-rivals India in the 2021 T20I World Cup- a first since 1992.

“We prepared well, and just kept the history out of our mind. We needed quality practice, and warm-up matches, and even our domestic tournament and those games gave us a lot of confidence,” said Babar Azam.

Mohammad Rizwan (Image Credit: Twitter)
Mohammad Rizwan (Image Credit: Twitter)

Also, Shaheen Shah Afridi was on the money as India lost both their openers for the score of just six. Rohit Sharma was out off an inch-perfect yorker while KL Rahul saw his off stumps flying. Babar Azam lauded his pace and spin bowlers for the effort.

“This was the team’s effort, and the early wickets were very helpful. It gave us a lot of confidence and our spinners were very good as well. We applied our plans and got the results.”

The tall paceman dismissed dangerous opener Rohit Sharma with the fourth delivery of the match for a first-ball duck and then had KL Rahul (three) and Virat Kohli (57) in an incisive 3-31 spell off his four overs. His effort restricted India to a below-par 151-7 in their 20 overs.

Captain Babar Azam scored a 52-ball 68 not out while Mohammad Rizwan hit an undefeated 55-ball 79 as Pakistan achieved their first ten-wicket win in all Twenty20 internationals. This was also India’s first ten-wicket defeat in Twenty20 cricket.

Shaheen Shah Afridi: Pakistan Would Look To Carry Momentum From Win Against India And Go On To Win 2021 T20I World Cup

Meanwhile, Shaheen Shah Afridi has described his ‘man of the match’ effort as a result of ‘good wishes from my parents.’ He took three wickets in the game, including the big names of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and KL Rahul.

“It is the good wishes of my parents and all Pakistanis. Very happy with my performance. The plan was to bring the ball back in. I was just trying to swing it and I was just looking to give the team a breakthrough. That was what I practiced in the nets as well yesterday. Batting against the new ball was tough. “

“The credit goes to Babar and Rizwan for the way they played. All teams are good in the tournament and we will look to carry this momentum through and go to the finals.”

Shaheen Shah Afridi (Image Credit: Twitter)
Shaheen Shah Afridi (Image Credit: Twitter)

Besides Virat Kohli’s 49-ball 57, Rishabh Pant slammed 39 in 30 deliveries. Shaheen Shah Afridi dismissed Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul to put India on the back foot early. India will next play New Zealand on October 31 while Pakistan will take on New Zealand on October 26.

Misbah-ul-Haq- the head coach of the Pakistan cricket team.© AFP
Misbah-ul-Haq- the head coach of the Pakistan cricket team.© AFP
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Misbah-ul-Haq Hopes Pakistan Doesn’t Go Overboard With Celebrations After Breaking World Cup Jinx Against India

Misbah-ul-Haq, former Pakistan captain and coach, and current Pakistan skipper Babar Azam were among the ones who cautioned the Pakistan players of not going “overboard” with their celebrations following the historic win over India as it was only the first match of the team’s T20 World Cup campaign.

Misbah-ul-Haq, who was forced to resign as head coach of the national team one month before the 2021 World T20 Cup, said the Pakistan players must remain focused on winning the mega-event after beating India for the first time in a World Cup. Misbah-ul-Haq played 75 tests, 162 ODIs, and 39 T20 internationals in his international career.

Misbah-ul-Haq and Babar Azam. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Misbah-ul-Haq and Babar Azam. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Misbah-ul-Haq Hopes Pakistan Doesn’t Go Overboard With Celebrations After Breaking Jinx Of Losing In World Cups

In Match 1 of Group 1 of ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, Pakistan brought to an end India’s near-three-decade domination of them in the world stage in the most convincing fashion, embarrassing their arch-rivals by 10 wickets at Dubai International Cricket Stadium. The law of averages had to catch up with India sooner or later after having won seven ODI and five T20 World Cup games since they first met at Sydney in 1992.

Speaking on the a sports Channel with Waqar Younis who also resigned as bowling coach before the tournament, Misbah-ul-Haq said: “I just hope we don’t go overboard with the celebrations and forget we have more matches to play and win in the World Cup.”

Misbah-ul-Haq said that the team had displayed perfect discipline and executed its plans to perfection to beat India by 10 wickets.

“Now the task is to ensure we continue to play with the same discipline with every player fulfilling his role as he did against India if we are to win the tournament, “Misbah-ul-Haq added.

Misbah-ul-Haq and Waqar Younis resigned soon after the team returned from the West Indies. A few days after, former captain and commentator Ramiz Raja took charge as Pakistan Cricket Board chairman on September 13. Waqar Younis also noted that it was a tendency in Pakistan cricket that celebrations tended to go overboard. Waqar Younis and Misbah-ul-Haq both had a year still left in their tenures, having taken charge in September 2019.

“This is only the first match and we are still to play against other tough opposition. If we beat India today it does not mean we should take it for granted we can also beat New Zealand, Afghanistan for that we will have to continue the hard work.”

Pakistan coaching unit - comprising Misbah-ul-Haq, Waqar Younis (AFP)
Pakistan coaching unit – comprising Misbah-ul-Haq, Waqar Younis (AFP)

Babar Azam made the same impassioned plea to his players in a video released by the PCB soon after winning the match against India.

“Let’s celebrate, let us go back to the hotel and enjoy this moment with our families but don’t forget this match is now over and we must get back on track to prepare for the other matches of the tournament,” Babar said to his players.

Babar Azam said that after beating India, there would be more expectations from the team now, and to live up to them, the players will have to work harder.

“I want every player to celebrate this moment tonight but then go back to realizing what his role is in the team and what is expected of him in the remaining matches. We have not just come here to win against India, we have come here to win the World Cup, always remember that, ” Babar said.

Pakistan team’s interim head coach, Saqlain Mushtaq, also reminded the players that now teams will come stronger at Pakistan after the win over India.

“We must all do soul searching and think about what we did right today to win the match in such a fashion and to also think and keep working on the weak areas where we still need to continue to do work to remove them. It is about honest self-assessment,” he said.

Saqlain Mushtaq also said that the players must not get carried away with the celebrations after the win over India as cricket was a cruel sport, and every match was a new one. Former Pakistan opener, Mohsin Khan said that winning the toss had been vital for Pakistan and Babar Azam took the right decision to chase down a total as dew would remain a big factor for teams in the tournament.

Aaqib Javed And Rashid Latif Impressed With Pakistan’s Win

Former Test pacer Aaqib Javed said that Shaheen Shah Afridi’s burst of two wickets with the new ball and Hasan Ali’s one wicket put India on the back foot, and they never recovered after that.

“I liked the way the bowlers displayed so much discipline and game awareness today. Haris Rauf used the slower balls to great advantage, ” he said.

Aaqib Javed, a 1992 World Cup-winning squad member, said that it was good to see the Pakistan players showing so much self-belief and confidence.

“India is a top side and to beat them by 10-wickets is amazing. Don’t rule out a rematch with them perhaps in the final, ” he said.

Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan steered Pakistan to a 10-wicket victory against India (PTI)
Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan steered Pakistan to a 10-wicket victory against India (PTI).

Pakistan’s former wicketkeeper-batsman and captain Rashid Latif lauded the thorough professional attitude and performance of the players.

“Everything went according to plan today starting with the toss. I don’t think any other team which loses its head coach and bowling coach just before a World Cup can perform like this. This can only be done by Pakistan which produces remarkable cricket when least expected,” Latif said.

Pakistan’s former Test pacer Umar Gul said he did not doubt that India would make a strong comeback in their remaining matches.

“They are a very strong side and they will be smarting after this defeat. Expect them to come back strongly.”

Pakistan embarrassed their arch-rivals by 10 wickets in the Super 12 match. Babar Azam stroked his way to 68 while his opening partner, Mohammad Rizwan, smashed 79 as the Indian bowlers struggled to contain the two batters.

Earlier, Virat Kohli’s half-century helped India recover from a disastrous start and post 151/7 against Pakistan in the ICC T20 World Cup match on Sunday.

Besides Virat Kohli’s 49-ball 57, Rishabh Pant slammed 39 in 30 deliveries. Shaheen Shah Afridi dismissed Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul to put India on the back foot early. India will next play New Zealand on October 31 while Pakistan will take on New Zealand on October 26.

Brief scores: India: 151/7 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 57, Rishabh Pant 39; Shaheen Shah Afridi 3/31) lost to Pakistan: 152 for no loss in 17.5 overs (Babar Azam 68 not out, Mohammad Rizwan 79 not out) by 10 wickets.

Shoaib Malik, Mohammed Hafeez
Shoaib Malik, Mohammed Hafeez Photo: AFP
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Simon Doull: Pakistan Cannot Play Mohammed Hafeez And Shoaib Malik On The Same Team As They Are An 80 Year Old Running Around In 2 Bodies

Simon Doull has asked Pakistan to avoid playing veterans Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez together in the playing XI against India, calling them an “80-year-old running around in two bodies”.

Simon Doull’s remarks came on a chat show. While picking his preferred XI for Pakistan for the entertaining clash, the former New Zealand pacer said he’ll choose Mohammed Hafeez and Haider Ali in the middle order instead. He suggested that Mohammed Hafeez, 41, and Shoaib Malik, 39, playing together will be detrimental to the team.

Simon Doull
Simon Doull. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Simon Doull: Pakistan Cannot Play 2 Forty Year Olds Mohammed Hafeez And Shoaib Malik On The Same Team Against India

Veteran batsman Shoaib Malik was included in Pakistan’s Twenty20 World Cup squad, replacing top-order batsman Sohaib Maqsood, who was ruled out due to a back problem. Shoaib Malik had captained Pakistan in the inaugural event in 2007 and was a member of the side that won the tournament in 2009. After missing the West Indies event in 2010, he featured in the next 3 T20I World cup tournaments- 2012, 2014, and 2016 tournaments.

Shoaib Malik’s last T20I was in September 2020, and his last ODI was in June 2019. He played 35 Tests, 287 ODIs, and 116 T20Is, amassing over 10,000 runs in all three formats combined, averaging above 30 in each. Shoaib Malik became the first Pakistani batsman to score 10,000 runs in Twenty20 cricket in October 2020.

Simon Doull said: “Babar and Mohammad Rizwan at the top; Fakhar Zaman at three; Hafeez and Haider Ali. I don’t think they can play Hafeez and Shoaib Malik together. You don’t need an 80-year-old running around in two people. That can’t happen. I just I don’t think they can play two 40-year-olds on the same team so I will go with Hafeez and Haidar Ali. [Then] Asif Ali, Imad Wasim definitely then Shadab, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf and Shaheen Shah Afridi.”

Despite his age, Mohammad Hafeez has kept his Pakistan career on track on the backs of consistent performances in the middle order. Overall, he has played 113 T20Is, scoring 2429 runs at a strike rate of just under 121. Shoaib Malik, meanwhile, hasn’t been a part of the national team for the better part of the last two years. He has played 116 T20Is, scoring 2335 runs at a strike rate of 124.

Mohammad Hafeez Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Mohammad Hafeez Image courtesy of ESPNcricinfo

Both spin-bowling all-rounders weren’t part of the preliminary Pakistani squad for the T20 World Cup 2021, with the selectors going with younger batters. They were only added to the team recently, apparently because of the pair’s performances in the National T20 Cup.

The sluggish pitches in the UAE also played a part in the decision, with the selectors finding value in their experience in PSL. Sohaib Malik did well in PSL 2021 amassing 354 runs in 13 games averaging 35.4 at a strike rate of nearly 150 with 2 fifties. Mohammed Hafeez scored 271 runs averaging 33.87 at a strike rate of 138.26 in PSL 2021.

Simon Doull: Shoaib Malik Was Really Bad In The CPL

Explaining his assessment of the duo, Simon Doull said he watched both of them during the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2021 and that Shoaib Malik was “really bad”. Shoaib Malik just managed 67 runs in 11 CPL games averaging a pathetic 7.44 at an extremely poor strike rate of 59.82.

The commentator said the duo struggles to get going early on in their innings, but Mohammed Hafeez gets an edge over Shoaib Malik just because he could still contribute with the ball.

Simon Doull said: “I watched them both in the CPL and, I mean, I have got to say Shoaib Malik was really bad. Really bad. Eyes were gone, [he was] really struggling. I know he had one really good innings in the [National T20 cup] but I just watched him enough in the CPL to think I just couldn’t have the two of them in the same team. They both struggle to get going early on so they have to make that choice. And because Hafeez can bowl a bit still, that’s why I would go with him.”

Shoaib Malik, AFP
Shoaib Malik, AFP

The T20 World Cup 2021 match between India and Pakistan will begin at 7:30 PM IST in Dubai.

Pakistan’s 12-member squad against India: Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Hasan Ali, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, and Shaheen Shah Afridi.

India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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T20 World Cup 2021: Babar Azam Feels Conditions At UAE Will Suit Pakistan

Pakistan has won their last 10 Twenty20 internationals in the United Arab Emirates, and captain Babar Azam claims that will give his men the edge over India in their World Cup opener.

The arch-rivals will meet in Dubai on October 24 in what will be the biggest clash of the tournament that starts Sunday in Oman and the UAE.

Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby

Pakistan’s Last 10 T20I Wins At UAE Will Give Them Edge Over India

Pakistan has never won a World Cup match (either in ODI or in T20I) against India, but that does not bother Babar Azam who believes familiarity with the UAE pitches will help them break the jinx.

“Definitely we have played a lot of cricket in the UAE,” Babar said in a captain’s press conference when asked about his team’s dismal 0-5 record against India in T20 World Cup clashes.

“These conditions suit us and we know how to play here. We need to keep things simple in all the departments.”

Babar Azam
Babar Azam (Photo by Aamir QURESHI / AFP) (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

The UAE was Pakistan’s home base after the deadly terror attacks on the visiting Sri Lankan team in Lahore in 2009 forced cricket out of the Asian nation. Pakistan, who are third in the T20 rankings behind England and India, also has Afghanistan and New Zealand in their group at the World Cup. Babar Azam that captaining the team in the 16-nation tournament was indeed an honour and said his recent form will give him confidence.

“Good performances give you confidence,” Babar, who has hit two T20 centuries this year, said.

“I am in form, hence it will benefit me.”

Babar Azam, who has over 2,000 T20 runs, tipped Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson to stand out as the tournament’s best batter and Pakistan speedster Hasan Ali as the premier bowler. Pakistan made a few changes to their final 15 for the T20 World Cup late last month, bringing in experienced all-rounder Shoaib Malik back in the squad along with Haider Ali and Fakhar Zaman.

Virat Kohli Always Approached India-Pakistan Game As Another Cricket Game

Meanwhile, India captain Virat Kohli played down the famous rivalry, describing the match with Pakistan as “just another game”.

“I have always approached this game as just another game of cricket. I know there is a lot of hype created around this game more so with ticket sales and the demands for tickets,” said Kohli.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli (BCCI)

“Right now the value of those tickets is ridiculously high. So that’s all I know, friends asking me for tickets left, right and center, I refused. Yes, the environment, you can say, is different. From the fans’ point of view, it is definitely louder. From the players’ point of view, we stay as professional as we can.”

Virat Kohli was the first cricketer to score 3000 T20I runs. The India captain reached the milestone in his 87th match in the shortest format. Virat Kohli averages over 50 in all 3 formats – Tests, ODIs, and T20Is. Virat Kohli, who debuted for India in August 2008, is 7th on the list of run-scorers in international cricket behind Sachin Tendulkar, Kumar Sangakkara, Ricky Ponting, Mahela Jayawardene, Jacques Kallis, and Rahul Dravid.

Michael Atherton
Michael Atherton
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Pakistan’s Inability To Play India In Bilateral Events Cost Them Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars In The Past Decade: Michael Atherton

Michael Atherton, the former England skipper believes Pakistan has suffered huge financial losses over the past decade due to their inability to play India in bilateral events.

Former England captain Michael Atherton has said that Pakistan’s inability to play a bilateral series against India since 2012/13 is responsible for the financial losses faced by PCB over the past decade.

Michael Atherton Image Source : GETTY IMAGES
Michael Atherton Image Source: GETTY IMAGES

Michael Atherton: Pakistan Has Incurred Loses For No India-Pakistan Bilateral Matches Since 2012/13

Michael Atherton added that Pakistan has been forced to play their home matches in UAE as after the attack of Sri Lanka’s bus in 2009, they could not host teams in Pakistan for the better part of the 2010s decade. India and Pakistan have not played bilateral cricket since January 2013 wherein Pakistan visited their neighbours wherein they played 2 T20Is and 3 ODIs. The two teams have not met in a bilateral Test series since the 2007-08 season.

However, India and Pakistan have been meeting each other at bilateral series with their most recent tie coming at the 2019 World Cup. Efforts to hold bilateral series in the past have not worked in favour, resulting in very limited episodes of one of cricket’s greatest rivalries.

“Pakistan’s inability to play India in bilateral events has cost them hundreds of millions of dollars in the past decade, or how being in exile in the UAE for nearly a decade cost significant amounts of financial and psychological capital,” Atherton wrote in his column for The Times.

India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images) NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES
India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The last time India and Pakistan faced each other was in the round-robin stage of the 2019 ODI World Cup, where the former won by 89 runs (DLS method). Their last T20 World Cup face-off resulted in India’s 6-wicket win over Men in Green in Kolkata in the 2016 edition.

However, due to the unfortunate political situation, the two teams haven’t played a bilateral series since 2012-13. Pakistan and India’s last bilateral ties at either of the two neighbouring countries were 2 T20Is and 3 ODIs in India way back in 2012.

Michael Atherton: Pakistan Played Most Matches Away After Covid-19 Induced Break

Michael Atherton further pointed out that Pakistan has played the most number of matches away from home since cricket resumed after the Covid-19 break. Michael Atherton added that countries like England and Australia have had the luxury of backing off from tours or not travelling away from home for a significant period of time.

“When England have pulled out of tours to South Africa, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, and when Australia have played no Test matches away from home since the pandemic began, Pakistan has traveled all over the world (and, remember, there are no touring fees paid to the visitors these days).

“Pakistan has played the most number of matches away from home since Covid struck, by some distance,” Atherton further wrote.

Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby

India and Pakistan have not played the Test series for more than 14 years. As far as bilateral series in ODIs and T20Is are concerned, it has been over eight years. But they face off each other during ICC events and Asia Cup.

The political tension between the two neighbouring countries flared up after the terror attack in Mumbai’s Taj Hotel in 2008. The last T20 match played between the two teams was in 2016 at Eden Gardens, Kolkata during T20 World Cup. India and Pakistan will square off for the first after five years in a T20 International match.

England was scheduled to travel to Rawalpindi in October for two Twenty20 Internationals, in what was supposed to be their first visit to Pakistan since 2005 while New Zealand last played in Pakistan in 2003. Both the countries pulled out at the last minute as England followed the Kwis example thus receiving a heavy backlash from Pakistan fans.  New Zealand pulled out of their Pakistan tour even before play started in the 1st ODI in Rawalpindi.

Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
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Pakistan Named A 15 Men Squad And 3 Stand-Bys For 2021 T20I World Cup

Pakistan named a 15-member squad and 3 stand-by players for their campaign in the UAE on Monday. Sarfaraz Ahmed, Fakhar Zaman, and Faheem Ashraf were notable omissions from the Babar Azam-led side.

Pakistan on Monday named a 15-member squad for the T20 World Cup and the home T20I series against New Zealand and England. Senior members Sarfaraz Ahmed and Wahab Riaz did not find a place while the likes of fresh faces Azam Khan, Asif Ali, and Khushdil Shah made it to the squad.

 Pakistan's Babar Azam will lead Pakistan's 15-man squad at T20 World Cup (Reuters Photo)
Pakistan’s Babar Azam will lead Pakistan’s 15-man squad at T20 World Cup (Reuters Photo)

Pakistan Named A 15 Men Squad Along With 3 Standbys For T20I World Cup

Aggressive opener Fakhar Zaman and leg-spinner Usman Qadir were not picked in the 15-man squad but the two players along with Shahnawaz Dahani were picked as reserves for the T20 World Cup, starting October 17 in the UAE. Babar Azam will lead the 15-man squad which will also not have senior all-rounder Shoaib Malik.
Shoaib Malik, Mohammed Hafeez
Shoaib Malik, Mohammed Hafeez Photo: AFP
However, Mohammad Hafeez has been picked following a string of consistent performances. Mohammad Rizwan will continue to be the first choice wicketkeeper while big-hitter Azam Khan has been picked ahead of Sarfaraz Ahmed, their Champions Trophy-winning former captain, as the back-up wicketkeeper. All-rounder Faheem Ashraf and batsman Sharjeel Khan were also not picked in the main squad.
The veteran cricketer Shoaib Malik is missing from the squad having not played for Pakistan in the format since September 2020.  There are a few surprises in the squad as veteran players like Shoaib Malik and Sarfaraz Ahmed, who captained Pakistan in 2007 and 2016 T20 WCs respectively, did not get a chance in the squad.

Azam Khan And Mohammad Wasim Junior Preferred Over Sarfaraz Ahmed And Faheem Ashraf Respectively

The seven home T20Is (against England and New Zealand) in Lahore and Rawalpindi will be played from 25 September to 14 October, while Pakistan will proceed to take on India in a battle of former champions in their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup opener in Dubai on 24 October.

“Azam Khan is an aggressive and attacking batter who also keeps wickets, a combination that has earned him the selectors’ nod ahead of Sarfaraz Ahmed,” Chief Selector Muhammad Wasim said after announcing the squad on Monday.

“Mohammad Wasim Junior has been preferred over Faheem Ashraf due to his pace and ability to hit big shots. Wasim will bolster the fast bowling unit, which comprises Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Hasnain and Shaheen Shah Afridi.”

Pakistan will proceed to take on India in ICC Men's T20 World Cup opener in Dubai on 24 October.
Pakistan will proceed to take on India in ICC Men’s T20 World Cup opener in Dubai on 24 October. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“Fakhar Zaman, Shahnawaz Dahani and Usman Qadir were unlucky to miss out on the selections. Sohaib Maqsood’s ability to bat and perform anywhere in the top-order has given him an edge over Fakhar, while the presence of three experienced spinners, who are also capable batters, and five genuine wicket-taking fast bowlers made it difficult for Usman Qadir to get into the side.”

Azam Khan has been impressive in the PSL off late and also made his debut for Pakistan on England tour earlier this year. The same squad will face New Zealand and England in the upcoming bilateral series at home. Pakistan has been drawn alongside India in Group 2 in the Super 12 stages of the T20 World Cup along with New Zealand and Afghanistan.

Pakistan squad for T20 World Cup in the UAE: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Azam Khan, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Wasim, Shaheen Afridi, Sohaib Maqsood.

Reserves: Fakhar Zaman, Shahnawaz Dahani and Usman Qadir.

Pakistan’s Schedule Of Matches In T20I World Cup

24 Oct – Pakistan v India, ICC T20 WC (Group 2), Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai

26 Oct – Pakistan v New Zealand, ICC T20 WC (Group 2), Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah

29 Oct – Pakistan v Afghanistan, ICC T20 WC (Group 2), Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai

2 Nov – Pakistan v A2, ICC T20 WC (Group 2), Sheikh Zayed International Cricket Stadium, Abdu Dhabi

7 Nov –Pakistan v B1, ICC T20 WC (Group 2), Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah

Wahab Riaz. Image-Sky Sports
Wahab Riaz. Image-Sky Sports
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Wahab Riaz Feels Pakistan Can Beat India In T20I World Cup 2021

Wahab Riaz, Pakistan pacer, in an interview with PakPassion.net, claimed that the Men in Green Pakistan can beat India during the upcoming T20 World Cup. The 36-year-old believed that Pakistan could beat any team in the world if it played up to its potential.

Wahab Riaz. (Credits: Twitter)
Wahab Riaz. (Credits: Twitter)

Wahab Riaz: Pakistan Has The Ability To Beat India In 2021 T20I World Cup If It Plays To Its Potential

India and Pakistan haven’t been playing any bilateral series for a long time now (since 2012-13) with the political issues going on but they have been meeting in the ICC tournaments or the Asia cup.

The T20I World Cup 2021 group stages will also feature India and Pakistan taking on each other on October 24 and the excitement has already started. Pakistan has never beaten India in any World Cup T20 or ODI game and they will be looking to break the streak in the upcoming fixture in the group stages.

“They definitely have the ability to achieve that result. If Pakistan plays to its potential, then they can beat any team in the world including India.

“Twenty20 cricket is such a format that the whole match can turn in the space of a few balls or even one incident and the Pakistan versus India match will be no different. If Pakistan play at their best, they can certainly beat India,” Wahab Riaz said.

“Given the conditions and where it’s being held, I believe Pakistan has a very good chance of winning the tournament. Pakistan has played a lot of cricket in UAE, and this gives them a very good chance to win the competition.

“They’ll be familiar with the conditions, and they’ll know what the ball will do. If they can utilize the conditions and use them to their advantage, then there is no reason why they can’t be considered amongst the leading contenders for the title,” he added.

India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images) NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES
India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Pakistan has been in an excellent run of form in 2021 as they started off with two consecutive home and away series wins against South Africa. They won the next T20I series against Zimbabwe as well but couldn’t get past the line in England where they lost the series 1-2. Their previous series against West Indies ended in their favour as well with a 1-0 win in the four-match rain-hit series.

After the terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka squad during a bilateral series in Pakistan in 2009, Pakistan was banned by ICC from hosting any international games due to security concerns. Their home matches were shifted to UAE later, and the country observed UAE as their home ground for many years in the last decade. Now, the situation has improved in Pakistan and their home matches are being scheduled in their own country.

Wahab Riaz  Feels He Has To Perform As It’s Up To The Selectors To Include Him Or Not For T20I World Cup

The fiery pacer stated that he had nothing to prove while revealing that the final decision of his inclusion in the squad rested with the national selectors.

“If it was up to me, then yes you will. But it’s up to the selectors who they want included in the side and who they think will provide the maximum utility. As a player, all you can do is to perform and that’s what my aim is and that’s what I am doing around the world.”

Pakistan Cricket Team
Pakistan Cricket Team (Image Credit: Twitter)

“Lately, I’ve played in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), and I have shown what I am capable of, and I don’t think I have to prove it again and again. Regardless of what they feel, I am performing well wherever I am getting a chance to play. So, let’s see what the selectors have in mind and whether they want me to be a part of future squads is totally up to them,” Wahab Riaz concluded.

Wahab Riaz hasn’t been in the Pakistan T20 side for a long time now and he will be looking for a comeback in the T20 World Cup squad.

Wahab Riaz has so far played 27 Tests, 91 ODIs, and 36 T20I games for Pakistan. He has bagged 83 wickets in Tests and 120 in ODIs. In T20Is, he accounts for 34 scalps. Since December 2020, he has not represented the national side but was active in franchise T20 league Pakistan Super League 2021 (PSL).

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