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Cricket World Cup 2019 | Want Pakistan to Play Bravely & With a Big Heart: Akram

Cricketnext Staff |May 31, 2019, 6:08 PM IST
Cricket World Cup 2019 | Want Pakistan to Play Bravely & With a Big Heart: Akram

Former captain and member of the victorious 1992 World Cup squad, Wasim Akram has urged Pakistan to not take West Indies lightly and get their tournament off to a sound start.

Pakistan face West Indies in their tournament opener on Friday (May 31) and Akram said all he wanted was that the Sarfraz Ahmed-led side plays fearless cricket.

"West Indies is a very dangerous side. I want Pakistan to play bravely, with a big heart and play on front foot," Akram told "See how Root played today after losing first wicket early. You don’t need to slog but you must play proper cricketing shots. We need someone to bat like him."

The surfaces at Trent Bridge, in Nottingham, have in the past dished out absolute belters and another high-scoring affair is in the offing. Akram pointed out that in such a case, the opening partnership becomes extremely important and singled out Fakhar Zaman as a key player in the Pakistan unit.

"Fakhar is an attacking player. He has been there for long and now people know how to bowl him. It is now up to Fakhar how to counter opposition’s strategy on him as bowlers are not going to give him room. Opening pair has to fire," he said.

Pakistan haven't had the best time of it in the 50-over format of late. They were first walloped by Australia 5-0 at home and then lost the five-match series against England just prior to the World Cup 4-0. Coming into the competition on a 10-match losing streak isn't ideal but Akram said there was no point crying over spilt milk and hoped the fervour of the World Cup will motivate players.

"Done is done, we were beaten, but that’s past. We had an inexperienced squad against Australia and with an acclimatizing opportunity in England, now there’s no excuse for them. I hope the extravaganza of World Cup would motivate the players," he said.

"All the teams are tough, Pakistan don’t look too strong. They’ll really have to work hard to be in the semi-finals."

Pakistan have announced their 12-member side for the fixture against West Indies and the make of the team has given Akram confidence. He further said that hard-hitting batsman Asif Ali should be a certainty in the playing eleven on the day.

"The 12 announced for the match against West Indies looks good. Pakistan is rightly going with five bowlers as we were strolling with bowling options recently. The ground looks very high scoring with par score of 370 and Pakistan must score this much runs," the former fast bowler said.

"Pakistan needs a power hitter and Asif Ali is that one. I will have him in my XI. Saffy is not a power hitter, he can add quick runs but we need a power hitter and there’s no doubt that Asif deserves a place," he said.

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Cricket World Cup Points Table

5 4 1 0 8 +0.81
4 3 0 1 7 +2.16
4 3 1 0 6 +1.55
3 2 0 1 5 +0.53
5 1 2 2 4 -1.77
4 1 2 1 3 +0.66
5 1 3 1 3 -0.20
4 1 2 1 3 -0.71
4 1 2 1 3 -1.79
4 0 4 0 0 -1.63

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 5720 124
2 India 5990 122
3 New Zealand 4121 114
4 South Africa 4647 111
5 Australia 4805 109
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
see more