Gavaskar’s hard-headed take on India top-order ahead of Pakistan rematch: ‘For any batter to get aggressive…’

It won’t be hard to disagree with Sunil Gavaskar. Mighty impressed with the Shaheen Shah Afridi-starrer bowling attack of the Green Army, the legendary Indian cricketer has issued an eye-catching statement about Babar Azam’s Pakistan side. Strong title contenders in the Asia Cup and World Cup this year, Pakistan showcased its bowling strength against a world-class batting attack of the Men In Blue in the group stage of the continental tournament last week.

Gavaskar has issued massive statement about Babar Azam’s Pakistan side amid the Asia Cup (AFP-Hindustan Times)

In a match that was abandoned due to rain, the three-pronged pace attack of the Green Army managed to break the back of the formidable Indian batting order. From Rohit Sharma to Virat Kohli, premier batters of the Indian team were upstaged by Shaheen and Co. in the rain-curtailed encounter at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium. The record-time Asia Cup winners suffered a top-order collapse before Hardik Pandya and Ishan Kishan lifted India to 266 in 48.5 overs.

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‘Pakistan have the most lethal new-ball attack’

Three days before India meet Pakistan in another Asia Cup classic, batting legend Gavaskar claimed that Pakistan have the best new-ball attack in world cricket. “At one point of time it was Australia and Pakistan probably shared that number 1 and number 2 spot because Pakistan have always had top-class new-ball bowlers. But at this point of time, they have the most lethal new-ball attack in the game,” said Gavaskar, who played 125 Tests and 108 One Day Internationals (ODIs) for India.

Leading the bowling attack of Pakistan against India, Afridi scripted history by cleaning up Rohit and Kohli inside the first seven overs. The pacer then bagged the crucial wicket of Pandya (87) and Ravindra Jadeja to emerge as the pick of the bowlers in the blockbuster encounter. Afridi shared 10 wickets with Naseem Shah (3) and Haris Rauf (3) as India failed to play 50 overs.

‘Not easy for any batter to get aggressive’

“They have a left-arm, right-arm combination. They can move the ball both ways at good pace. So, it’s not easy for any batter to get aggressive against them from the word go,” Gavaskar added. Pakistan’s pace-bowling trio has dominated the bowling charts at the Asia Cup. Pacer Rauf is the leading wicket-taker with 9 wickets in 3 games. Naseem and Shaheen have picked up 7 wickets each so far in the Asia Cup.

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