Recently, Pakistan has gotten into several controversies with the upcoming Asian Cup and ODI World Cup in 2023. The PCB was quite unhappy as India refused to travel to Pakistan for the Asia Cup tournament. So, the hosts for the Asia Cup were not getting confirmation from the Asian Cricket Council initially. So, Pakistan threatened not to participate in the next World Cup in India.
Afterwards, the authority was pleased with PCB’s idea of a hybrid mode and approved at least four Asia Cup matches over there. However, former cricketing star Wasim Akram is quite confident with their boys and performances. He believes that Babar and his boys will do well in the next World Cup matches.
Akram on team Pakistan:
Wasim Akram, the ex-captain of the Pakistan cricket team, looks positive with team Pakistan in the upcoming World Cup 2023 in India. Akram believes the Pakistan side has enough efficiency in their ranks to be giant contenders in the World Cup 2023. Pakistan are currently the 2nd-ranked ODI side in the ICC Men’s ODI team ranking list. Captain Babar Azam is currently the no.1 batter in the ICC ODI rankings. Former Pakistan skipper feels that Pakistan has Babar Azam as a perfect modern sensation on the batting side. We know Wasim was part of the famous team that helped their nation claim their only World Cup title in 1992. The legendary quick thinks the next trophy may come soon if their best players stay in form.
Pakistan won 5 of their 9 matches in the last 50-over World Cup but narrowly failed to qualify for the semi-finals of 2019 due to an inferior net run rate. Their form has been excellent since then, with Pakistan having lost only 9 ODI matches. Thus, they are holding the 2nd spot on the ODI team rankings.
Wasim Akram thinks that Pakistan’s familiarity with the playing conditions in the neighbour country will work to its advantage. He thinks that the pitches there are like those in Pakistan. Moreover, Wasim Akram highlights the impact of fitness and leadership in Babar Azam, further boosting the team’s confidence. The former Pak legend added, “As long as they are fit and as long as they play according to the plan, they will have a chance of doing well in that World Cup because it is played in our type of conditions in India on the sub-continent.”
Akram on Babar Azam:
Babar has been an idol of consistency during that strong run. The right-hander scored eight of his 18 ODI hundreds since the 2019 World Cup to maintain his stranglehold on a good position in the 50-over better rankings.
The 57-year-old praised the captain for his leadership skills following their 4-1 series victory in their ODI series against New Zealand at home a few weeks ago. Mentioning the performance of Pakistan skipper, Wasim Akram labelled him a modern-day great. The former pacer lauded Babar as their best player and is confident about the talented batter raising his skills to the next level in the international event later this year.
Akram said, “I think he can (get better) as he is our best player. The whole country follows him, everything he does. He gets people into the stadium, and it doesn’t matter whether it is T20, one-days or Test cricket, and, in my opinion, he has the most beautiful cover drive in the world.”
Akram on Shaheen Afridi:
Wasim Akram has advised pacer Shaheen Afridi to practice more to improve his bowling skills in the lead-up to the next World Cup. The legendary pacer advised that there is nothing to worry about regarding Afridi’s load management after a serious knee injury troubled last year. The ex-cricketer further appreciated the 23-year-old as a handy batter in the lower order. He remarked, “At his age, the more he plays, the better he will become. He had a knee injury, I remember. When bowlers suffer from knee injuries, it takes some time to get back to that pace because they think the pain might resurface.”
For the recoveries, currently, Afridi is playing for Nottinghamshire in English T-20 Vitality Blast. He has scalped 16 wickets in 12 matches with an economy rate 8.66. The left-arm seamer will next be seen for Pakistan during the dual-Test series in Sri Lanka on July 16.
However, Pakistan will open their journey against Qualifier 1 of the World Cup qualifier in Hyderabad on 6th October. So, former Pakistani legend Wasim Akram is optimistic about Pakistan’s chances in the upcoming big event.