Pakistan’s meek surrender to India in the World Cup 2023 contest came as an anticlimax to the much-celebrated rivalry between the two sides at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. The Men in Green were bowled out for a mere 191 in their first innings as their middle order collapsed. The Indian bowlers took the last eight wickets for just 36 runs and then the batters came to the party and gunned down the total in 30.3 overs.
Pakistan looked toothless on most occasions in both – batting and the bowling department with no one able to make a strong impact. India’s former chief selector Chetan Sharma has shed light on the Babar Azam team’s struggling show and also on the Shaheen Afridi vs Wasim Akram comparison.
‘Cricket is not about talking’: Chetan Sharma
Chetan Sharma talked about the holes of the Pakistani side that faced India in the World Cup 2023. He criticised the Men in Green for boasting their strengths off the field and not being able to show it in their recent clash. “Indian team is any day far better than Pakistan team is. We are just assuming and saying that they are the best bowling, have the best bowlers, middle-order around. But if you see, cricket is not just talking. You have to go and perform, none of Pakistan’s fast bowlers have performed just yet,” he said.
‘Shaheen not even 50% of Wasim Akram’
The former selector made a strong claim on the comparison between Shaheen Afridi and Pakistan great Wasim Akram. Sharma stated that Shaheen is not even 50% of Akram as seen in recent times. “We talk about Shaheen Afridi. We say he is as good as Wasim Akram. But what I have seen of Shaheen in recent times, he is not even 50% of what Wasim used to be because we have played with him (Wasim). This a big problem for Pakistan because their fast bowling is not doing what they are saying about it. Their spinners are not even 50% of what Indian spinners are, openers are struggling, Babar is struggling, then what is left? Only Rizwan, but you can’t win a World Cup or beat a side like India with one or two players,” he added.
He called Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan ‘overcautious’ for their middle-over play. He said the duo took the right approach of playing carefully as they did not had many batters to come behind but were a little overcautious.
‘Pakistan can still make it to WC semis’: Sharma
The 57-year-old then talked about Pakistan’s chances to qualify for the semifinals of the tournament. “You cannot access with one match. They played two good games before this, they chased 345 against Sri Lanka. We are talking about the India game. They have the potential (to make it to semis). Any team, Pakistan or Australia, you can’t write them off. They can come back, we can’t write them off from one game,” he said.
Interestingly, Pakistan will face Australia next on October 20. The 1992 World Champions are currently in fourth place at the World Cup points table with two wins in three games. The Aussies will play Sri Lanka next on October 16 before taking on the Men in Green on the upcoming Friday.