Team India are all set to take on Pakistan in their campaign opener in the upcoming T20 World Cup which will be played in Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday, October 23. For the longest time, India had the upper hand over Pakistan in World Cups, but last year, Pakistan beat them by 10 wickets.
However, India got a heavy blow ahead of the World Cup after Jasprit Bumrah was ruled out. Pakistan on the other hand, have their pace spearhead Shaheen Afridi, the left-arm quick who troubled India last year in Dubai. Shaheen, who missed the Asia Cup due to a knee injury, was drafted into Pakistan’s World Cup squad but he remains doubtful for the India match as well. And, former Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood feels that Shaheen getting fit in time will be a huge boost for Pakistan.
“Whenever there is an India vs Pakistan game, there is bound to be excitement. Pakistan’s bowling is strong but the batting needs to improve. India have endured a big loss as they are already without Bumrah. And upar se agar Shaheen fit ho jata hai aur khelta hai (if Shaheen Shah Afridi regains fitness and plays), our pace attack will bolster further. However, this time around, the wickets in Dubai were different. In Australia, the ball will come on to the bat better. It will be a good game, and given how mentally well Pakistan have been against India in recent games, I hope they will come out victorious again,” Azhar Mahmood told Cricket Pakistan.
Meanwhile, PCB chairman, Ramiz Raja has recently provided a huge update on Shaheen as well, saying that the left-arm pacer feels he will ‘110 percent be match ready’. Adding to it, Mahmood also believes that whenever Shaheen comes back, he will return with full rhythm and the same intensity despite there being concerns over his effectiveness as well.
“Shaheen Shah Afridi will not have any problem on his return to the team. The pacer also started bowling after recovering from injury, and if he completes his rehabilitation process properly, he will not have any problem. Hopefully, Shaheen will be able to bowl well like before. All Pakistanis, including me, are praying for him,” the former Pakistan bowling coach further added.