Former Pakistan captain, Shahid Afridi seems to be quite impressed with India’s batting line up. He said that India has a strong batting line up and can wash away any bowling attack on its day, and that is what will make them favourites in the big match against Pakistan. He also applauded Kohli for his batting and said that he has played some memorable innings.
In his ICC column, he wrote, “As a passionate Pakistan supporter, it’s natural that I would want my team to finish on the winning side against any team, and especially against India. However, recent history and the depth of the India squad gives it a slight edge heading into the game. Led by Virat Kohli, the Indians possess a formidable batting line-up that can flay any bowling attack on its day. Kohli’s credentials as a top-order batsman are known to all and he has played some memorable innings in the ODI format. I have vivid memories of his sublime century against us in the 2012 Asia Cup, while he was at his absolute best in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 clash at Adelaide, laying the foundation of an Indian win with a masterful hundred.”
Afridi further described the importace of Kohli’s wicket for Pakistan,
“For me, bowling to Kohli was always a challenge and Pakistani bowlers would have to be on top of their game against him. They must try and attack, especially when he is new at the crease. If Pakistan dismisses Kohli cheaply, it will significantly increase its chances of restricting India to a low score. While Kohli is the backbone, India possesses considerable firepower around him. Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni are all match-winners and capable of churning out exceptional performances.”
Afridi advised Pakistan bowlers to take wickets at regular intervals and not to just sit back and watch, especially when batsmen like Yuvraj and Dhoni are in the middle order.
Coming on to the bowling and fielding, he said,“While batting is India’s traditional strength, it is also fielding a balanced bowling attack that includes some skillful bowlers led by the wily Ravichandran Ashwin. The off-spinner has truly come of age and has become a pivotal part of India’s recent successes across the three formats. Ashwin has great control and bowls an impeccable line and length which troubles the best in the business.
“He gets great support from left-armer, Ravindra Jadeja who has been another vital cog in the Indian line-up in recent years. The conditions in England might not suit spinners much but both Ashwin and Jadeja have the quality and accuracy to make run-scoring difficult for batsmen. The spinners will be complimented by what I feel is a more than capable seam bowling line-up led by Bhuvneshvar Kumar and Mohammed Shami.”
Afridi also added that tough India may be the favourite team but Pakistan can surely bring a surprise.
“India enter the game against Pakistan on a high and has the ‘favourite’ tag. However the ‘Green-shirts’ can surely spring a surprise with a committed and passionate performance according to present day cricket requirements. I’m hoping we all get to see another memorable contest that befits the India-Pakistan rivalry. Let the best team take the honours, and more importantly, let it be an entertaining and memorable battle that provides rich entertainment to billions around the world,” he wrote.