Azhar Mahmood, a Pakistani all-rounder, and bowling coach, believes Pakistan’s team appears to be very strong on paper for the Twenty20 World Cup, but that the Green-shirts must maintain control and work hard on fielding.
“With a batting lineup that includes some big names and the experience of Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik, as well as bowling firepower from Shaheen Shah Afridi and Hassan Ali, this Pakistan side appears to be very strong on paper.”
Their fielding, on the other hand, could be their undoing. A dropped catch at a crucial point, or a run out when it was most needed, could be Pakistan’s undoing not just against India, but against any other team. But that isn’t the only flaw we should be concerned about.
“We will also need to control extras, and issues like this, especially in Twenty20 games where margins are so close, can easily mean the difference between a win and a loss.” Laxity in the field and allowing unnecessary runs are two areas that Pakistan will need to control and improve.
“I am confident that our young players, such as Haider Ali and Shadab Khan, will be able to contribute and put in good fielding performances, which will help this team succeed,” he wrote on his PakPassion.net blog. Speaking about the Pakistan-India match, he said, “India-Pakistan games are always special when it comes to the hype and the pressure on players, and the age-old cliché that any team can win on the day applies to the game in this T20 World Cup as well.” But, realistically, India has an advantage going into this game because their players have competed in the IPL, which was held in the same venues in the UAE.
“Aside from being able to play highly competitive cricket, they will also have a good understanding of the playing conditions in the UAE.” But don’t forget that Pakistani players competed in some intense Twenty20 cricket in the recently concluded National T20 Cup, which was rescheduled due to the cancellation of the New Zealand tour.
Having said that, we all know that any India-Pakistan match is usually won by the team that can best absorb pressure, and in a format like Twenty20, it can easily come down to just one over where a batsman or bowler can completely change the complexion of the game,” he said.