Sharjah, Sep 7 (IANS) Former India cricketer Aakash Chopra reckons Pakistan had a very potent bowling attack despite playing only two spinners in their playing eleven. Left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz and leg-spinner Shadab Khan bowled tight spells at economy rates of 6.25 and 7.75 respectively in Pakistan’s five-wicket win in the Super Four match against India.
Apart from Nawaz and Shadab, Pakistan has a back-up leg-spinner in Usman Qadir. If Pakistan win Wednesday’s match against Afghanistan at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, both India and Afghanistan will be eliminated from the tournament, paving the path for them cruising into the final of 2022 Asia Cup in the UAE.
“Their bowling attack looks quite alright. If Hazratullah Zazai is there for a little longer, if Najibullah Zadran comes in a little early, then they have the option of going to Iftikhar (Ahmed) and asking him to bowl his over. He is someone who will give you a few overs of off spin, so they do have the option, but what’s in Pakistan’s favour, in my opinion, is their fast bowling.”
“Of course, the pitch is not suited for faster bowlers, but then Madushanka (of Sri Lanka) got two wickets, so you can still go in and do your thing, at least be economical, so that the bulk of your wickets is taken by the two spinners. So, Pakistan, even though they have only two spinners, still have a very potent attack,” said Chopra on ‘Game Plan’ show on Star Sports.
Chopra also felt that Afghanistan’s premier leg-spinner Rashid Khan has a different role to play in the match against Pakistan, considering his statistics in power-play haven’t been great. “I say Mujeeb (Ur Rahman) will bowl three, because he will bowl the first over, he will start in the Power Play overs. (Mohammad) Nabi might think about Rashid Khan and then might end up resisting the temptation, because Rashid’s numbers over the Power Play overs aren’t very flattering.”
“Secondly, you already have a different role for Rashid, almost set in stone; that you have to bowl the middle overs, maybe an over in the back five because what you are up against is a very quality batting line-up.”
“So, it’s not just about the top three, Khushdil is in form, Nawaz scores runs, Asif really hasn’t failed in a run chase. So, you know this team has got the power. Yes mercurial, but Rashid has a very different role to play,” concluded Chopra.