- Feb 23, 2024
- Jan 6, 2024
Pakistan head coach Saqlain Mushtaq has backed Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah, and Mohammad Hasnain to give India a tough time when the arch-rivals meet for their Asia Cup clash on August 28, Sunday. Pakistan’s pace-spearhead Shaheen Afridi, who was the star with the ball when Pakistan thrashed India by ten wickets when both sides last met, is ruled out of the Asia Cup 2022 due to an injury.
However, Mushtaq believes that the pace trio of Hasnain, Naseem, and Rauf has the ability to change the game on their given day. Saqlain, in response to a question that stated India’s woes against left-arm fast bowling of Shaheen Afridi in the T20 World Cup 2021 and Mohammad Amir in the Champions Trophy 2017 final, said the pace trio has the ability to change the game on its head and has the backing of the entire team.
Mushtaq said at a press conference, “Since the last few years, these three have been executing the plans and demands of the Pakistan team really well. The captain, I as the head coach, and the entire support staff have confidence in their abilities. Shaheen used to lead the attack, but these three, on a given day or situation, can change the game and give a tough run to India,” he added.
Shaheen, who was initially named in Pakistan‘s Asia Cup squad, had to withdraw from the tournament due to a right knee ligament injury that he sustained in the Test series against Sri Lanka last month. Hasnain was named as the replacement. The 22-year-old has played 18 T20Is and picked up 17 wickets at an economy rate of 7.90.
The former Pakistan off-spinner also brushed off any concerns regarding Hasnain’s remodelled bowling action. “He has played cricket recently and did very well,” he said.
The 15th edition of the Asia Cup is set to begin on August 27 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The six-team tournament will be played till September 11. India and Pakistan are placed in Group A along with Hong Kong. The second group consists of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. The inaugural match will see hosts Sri Lanka taking on Afghanistan in Dubai.