KOLKATA: Former India cricketer Manoj Tiwary believes Naseem Shah’s absence is a key factor behind Pakistan’s struggle with the ball at the ICC Cricket World Cup in India.
In an exclusive interview with Geo Newsthe former Indian cricketer, who played 12 ODIs and two T20Is for India between 2008 and 2015, gave candid and thought-provoking views on Pakistan’s strengths, weaknesses and potential to reach the top four of the tournament.
When asked about Pakistan’s performance in the World Cup, Tiwary expressed his disappointment at their inability to perform to their full potential, saying that Pakistan is a quality team, especially in knockout matches, and as an Indian, he will not he wanted to face them in such situations.
“They can beat any team. However, it’s frustrating to see them make key mistakes. They’re inconsistent and it’s hard to predict their performance.”
Tiwary pointed out that “Naseem Shah’s absence proved very costly for Pakistan”.
“Naseem Shah’s absence is a major loss for Pakistan. His bowling length is better than other bowlers and he can control the game. Shaheen Afridi faces challenges due to his length being unsuitable for Indian conditions,” he said.
The former India batsman, who is now the Sports Minister in West Bengal, said Babar Azam could be a more energetic captain, adapting to the match situation.
“I feel Babar could have done better as a captain, he needs to be proactive and think a step ahead, for example how he continued with the example of Shadab’s bowling even though he saw he was struggling to find his rhythm.”
“I think it is better to remove the struggling bowler if he is not able to deliver properly. It is important to have a proactive captain, Babar has to think outside the box. He should be ready to modify his plans according to match At times you need to go against your original plans when the situation on the pitch is different.”
“Give the same Pakistan team under the leadership of MS Dhoni, I challenge this team will be on a winning streak.” added Manoj Tiwary.
However, commenting on Babar Azam’s abilities as a batsman, Tiwary acknowledged his “talent and consistent run-scoring”.
“Babar is a great player under enormous pressure. To blame him alone for Pakistan’s results is unfair. He has the skills to be among legends like Sahin Tendulkar or Rohit Sharma. He is undoubtedly Pakistan’s top batsman. of this era,” he said.
Tiwary praised the rise of the Indian bowling attack and attributed it to extensive training and knowledge of biomechanics.
He emphasized the importance of aggression in fast bowling and suggested that Shardul Thakur be included in the playing XI for the knockout stages to cover the potential struggles of the bowlers.
When asked about the possibility of a bilateral series between Pakistan and India, Tiwary expressed skepticism, stating: “I don’t see it happening unless there is a change in the current government in India. There are political factors that need to be addressed for such a series to happen.”
“As a cricketer, I would love to see Pakistan play India, but there are a few things that need to be sorted out at the government-to-government level. I have played IPL initially with Pakistani players and we enjoyed good bonding with them. There might be people who would not want India-Pakistan cricket to happen, but I am sure genuine cricket fans will love it,” he added.
On Pakistan’s chances of making it to the top four in the World Cup, Tiwary remained optimistic and said, “Nothing is impossible and it depends on the results of the other teams. If Pakistan makes it to the top four, it will add excitement to the World Cup .with the potential of a historic semi-final against India.”
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