It’s India’s batting vs Pakistan’s bowling, says Zaheer Abbas

Mirpur: Pakistan’s chief cricket consultant Zaheer Abbas feels it would be an intense contest between India’s famed batting and his team’s “stronger” bowling when the two sides clash in their much-anticipated Asia Cup match here Sunday.

“Both teams have their weaknesses. It will depend who play on that given day and learn from their mistakes. It’s going to be a close match, whoever plays well tomorrow will win. Both teams are very good. I’m expecting a good game today,” the former Pakistan captain told reporters on the eve of the high-voltage match here.

“Pakistan bowling attack is much better but I must say Indian batting has always been superb,” he added.

Abbas said India should not be judged on the basis of their embarrassing defeats in South Africa and New Zealand. “New Zealand’s wickets were different, fast and seaming where the home side played very well. It’s always difficult for Indian batsmen to play on fast and seaming wickets. But here the conditions are similar to that of Pakistan and India. So it’s like they are playing at home.”

The 66-year-old, who is also the batting coach of the side, further said the team would approach the match with a free mind and would retain the same side that won against Afghanistan in the last match. “The players just want to play their game. The pressure always comes from the people. They always want their country to win. The pressure comes from the public not the players. There is no added pressure. It’s only you people who add to the pressure. We always play to win,” he said.

“The top two teams of Asia would be playing today. You all know how intense it becomes in an India-Pakistan match… It seems the whole world is watching you. Everybody wants a good score and result. India will want their team to win and it will be the same case for Pakistan as well.

Urging Pakistan’s erratic top-order batsmen to play the full 50 overs, Abbas said: “These days, the good bowlers don’t take many wickets while the others take more because it’s the batsmen who throw their wickets.

Abbas agreed that skipper MS Dhoni’s absence was hurting India but at the same time he felt India have the batting firepower especially in Virat Kohli. “Dhoni’s absence has made a lot of difference to the side. You saw it in the last match also. But the present skipper is doing very well.

PTI