Former India player Irfan Pathan said that Pakistan have made mistakes in picking Faheem Ashraf ahead of Mohammad Nawaz for their Asia Cup 2023 Super Four clash against India. The two teams will play against each other at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Sunday, September 10. Pakistan have already named their XI for the clash, with Ashraf replacing Nawaz as well.
Reflecting on the decision during a discussion on Star Sports, Pathan said: “I feel they will miss a spinner here. The Kandy pitch was different. You needed a fourth fast bowler on the Kandy pitch and that is why Babar Azam missed a trick there and Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya had a partnership. Their spinners are not in form either. If you have seen Shadab Khan’s bowling as well for the last one to one-and-a-half years, he is not bowling at the same level. So there if you don’t even have another spinner at the other end, they will miss. The Indian fans will not complain.”
However, Nawaz went wicketless and gave away 55 runs in the eight overs he bowled in the group game against India as well. He was replaced by Ashraf in the Pakistan playing XI for their Super Four opener against Bangladesh as well. And, Mohammad Kaif replied whether Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya’s partnership forced Pakistan to include Faheem Ashraf.
“It was a stage where Babar Azam didn’t know what to do. He got stuck, he forgot after giving the ball to his two spinners. The partnership was developing, Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya were playing easily. That’s why bringing in the fourth fast bowler is the right decision. If you see, fast bowlers are picking up wickets in Sri Lanka. Their fast bowlers were bowling well but you gave runs easily in the middle overs, so it got covered up,” Kaif concluded.