India started the Asia Cup as underdogs, Shoaib Akhtar feels, but their transformation during the campaign has now convinced him that they are “the most dangerous side in the world cup”. Akhtar referenced the captaincy of Rohit Sharma in particular.
“For the last one-and-half to two years, he was a bit lost (Ghuma hua tey), but now he is present and doing great man-management. He is making good decisions. He has got Kuldeep Yadav into the team at the right time,” Akhtar said on his YouTube channel.
“India have announced their arrival at the world cup. They can be the most dangerous side in the world cup. India have a formidable team – good pace and spin attack. They have ticked all the boxes.”
“India, hats off to you, you have done a wonderful job. It seemed they would be underdogs after the first game (against Pakistan) but they have done really well.”
Meanwhile, at Samaa TV, Shahid Afridi was all praise for the Indian bowling attack. “It looked like a proper Test attack in English conditions. I thoroughly enjoyed watching both Mohammmad Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah bowl. They didn’t try anything fancy; hit the right areas.”
His co-panellist, the former Pakistan batsman, Mohammad Yousuf pointed out how Indians hit the Test lengths. “That comes from being a good Test bowler. That’s the length where you can cause problems to batsmen if the ball moves a bit; even if it doesn’t. I have maintained that if you are a good Test bowler, you can play all formats.”
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It’s a sentiment that Siraj himself spoke about after the Asia Cup final.
“”When I play white-ball cricket my only attempt is that I try to swing the new ball at the start. But here, there wasn’t a lot of swing on offer in the initial matches. Today it swung, so I tried to make the batters play as much as possible. It’s a nice feeling when it catches the edge. I have not picked up a lot of wickets with my outswing – today I got a lot of wickets with my outswing, so that felt good.
“Today I was getting so much swing that I tried to make the batters drive, bring them forward and get their wickets. That was my plan. I didn’t chase after wickets, but the conditions did a lot of work for me. If you keep hitting the wickets with one line, you will keep getting wickets,” Siraj said.