Former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar is worried about the team’s inconsistent batting ahead of its clash against giant-killers Ireland in a must-win final pool B league encounter of the cricket World Cup in Adelaide tomorrow.
The Misbah-ul-Haq-led side has won three out of five games to be locked on six points with Ireland and both teams need a win to stay above West Indies, who are likely to get past UAE, in the points table. For Shoaib, Pakistan’s batting effort will be key in the crucial clash in Adelaide.
“I am not worried about our bowling attack, it is our batting which I’m worried about – especially while chasing a target,” Akhtar, who is part of the Star Sports Hindi commentary panel, told PTI.
The team has failed to cross the 250-run mark barring just once when they posted 339 for six against an inexperienced UAE attack while Misbah is the only batsman in the ranks to average above 50. Akhtar believes Pakistan are a better side while defending a target.
“In my opinion, Pakistan should choose to bat first if they win the toss and set a big target which is difficult for Ireland to chase against the revitalised bowling attack of Pakistan,” said Akhtar.
Even Pakistan’s batting coach Grant Flower has warned the batsmen of pulling up their socks in time or it might get too late.
“I would like to believe our best is yet to come. If we don’t, I don’t think we will go much further in the tournament,” the former Zimbabwean star said.
But Pakistan, who have had bad memories of an Ireland World Cup clash after they were beaten by the minnows in 2007 to bow out of the tournament, want to avoid a repeat of that.
They also saw the death of coach Bob Woolmer a day after the loss and veteran batsman Younis Khan, who was part of the squad in West Indies, wants to win the match in Woolmer’s honour.
“This is surely a very emotional game for me and all of us,” Khan said, remembering the man who coached Pakistan from 2004 till his death.
“I remember Bob a lot, he contributed so much to Pakistan cricket. Hope we can win this game and some more in the World Cup. There would be nothing better to dedicate to Bob’s memory.