Former World Cup-winning cricketer Madan Lal on Saturday opined that even though Pakistan is a balanced side, Babar Azam's team will be under pressure while facing India in the Super-12 stage of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 at Dubai International Stadium on October 24. (IND v PAK LIVE STREAMING)
Pakistan have not found any success against India in World Cup events, with the 2009 T20 World Cup winners drawing a blank (12-0) against arch-rivals India in ICC World Cup events.
However, Madan Lal, a member of the 1983 Cricket World Cup-winning India squad, cautioned with the likes of Pakistan skipper Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, and wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan at the top-order, the Virat Kohli-led side should not take its opponent lightly. (TOP 3 PAKISTAN PLAYERS)
"Pakistan have a lot more pressure because they haven't won against India (in World Cup matches). If you see around their country, there is public pressure. If they lose, a lot of things start happening. That's not fair,” Madan told Outlook. (IND v PAK RIVALRY)
“They (Pakistan) are a good side. We should not take them lightly. They have Babar, Fakhar, Rizwan, and quite a few all-rounders who can hit the ball.
"Then there are experienced Shoaib Malik and (Mohammad) Hafeez. They have a good bowling attack in (Shaheen Shah) Afridi and Hasan Ali along with left-arm spinner Imad (Wasim) and leggie Shadab (Khan).”
India and Pakistan play against each other only in the ICC tournaments and Asia Cup. The last time the two nations competed was during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England and Wales.
India and Pakistan have been placed in Group 2 along with Afghanistan, New Zealand, Namibia, and Scotland of the T20 World Cup.
The 70-year-old Madan Lal further added one cannot predict how the match will progress in T20 format. The former all-rounder observed the team that will control the proceedings of the game will come on top as it can turn around in death overs while chasing a target. (INDIA TOP 3 PLAYERS)
“Everything depends on how you control the game at the crucial point. Pressure gets on to you in the critical stage when you have to say chase 20 runs in the last two overs. You have to handle such kind of pressure where the game turns around.”
“We (India) don’t have pressure because at the end of the day it is a game. In T20 format anything can happen. It is difficult to predict. Every ball, every wicket, every run you know the game can change in two or three overs.”
Fakhar Zaman vs Ravindra Jadeja
Fakhar Zaman was not in the original Pakistan squad announced in mid-September. The PCB included him recently. His inclusion could be based on his performance against India in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy final at The Oval. The left-hander smashed a 106-ball 114, leaving the Indian bowling attack especially Ravindra Jadeja, who conceded 67 runs from 8 overs, dumbstruck.
Madan Lal, however, thinks since the 2017 ICC tournament in UK, Jadeja has worked a lot and improved his skills. The former Indian cricketer stated that Jadeja is one of the best all-rounders in the world and has become a go-to bowler in the Virat Kohli-led team.
“2017 is a long time back now. You can’t say Fakhar will punish Jadeja again. Jadeja has developed and become one of the best all-rounders in the world. He has been bowling regularly over the years now in all formats. He is not mucking with the bowling. Indian team needs him and he is very clever He is a go-to bowler to pick wickets if anything happens.”
Varun Chakravarthy or Ravichandran Ashwin
Madan Lal feels India should play leggie Varun Chakravarthy instead of veteran off-spinner Ashwin as the Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) star bowler can strengthen the Indian bowling attack with the variety he brings in his bowling.
Incidentally like Ravindra Jadeja, Ashwin, too, was hammered by Fakhar Zaman during the 2017 Champions Trophy final at The Oval in London. The off-spinner conceded 70 runs from his 10 overs quota and could not pick a single wicket.
“There is a debate between Varun and Ashwin. Ashwin is undoubtedly a world-class bowler but Varun gives you something different. India has not played Varun against Pakistan before. He gives you a lot of variety in his bowling. India should play Varun instead of Ashwin.”
5 Bowlers and 6 Batsmen
The former India cricketer said that the Indian national cricket team will go with five bowlers and six batters, including Hardik Pandya. Madan Lal stressed that Bhuvneshwar Kumar has all the experience but India should give a nod to all-rounder Shardul Thakur, who had replaced Axar Patel in the 15-member squad.
Madan also picked Suryakumar Yadav ahead of hard-hitter Ishan Kishan. He added that if India are looking for a left-right batting combination then the think tank might add Kishan instead of Yadav in the playing XI.
“Indians are more or less settled. Hardik is not bowling. India will play with five bowlers. Varun and Jadeja will be the key with three fast bowlers Bumrah, (Mohammed) Shami, and Shardul or Bhuvneshwar. Bhuvneshwar is an experienced bowler but I feel Shardul should be picked as he is an all-rounder.”
“They will go with six batters, including Hardik as a pure batter. There is a tie between Ishan and Suryakumar. They might go with Suryakumar. But if they plan to have a left-right combination then only they might pick Ishan. At the moment they must be thinking about Suryakumar.”
India: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami.
Pakistan: Babar Azam (c ), Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Shadab Khan, Shoaib Malik, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi.