The Telegraph
Friday , February 21 , 2014
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Can’t take India lightly in Asia Cup, feels Abbas

- Will be tough for all teams, says Mohammed Akram
Zaheer Abbas

Lahore: Former Pakistan captain Zaheer Abbas on Thursday said that India should not be judged on the basis of their poor performances on the recent tours of South Africa and New Zealand as they would be a potent force in the upcoming Asia Cup in Bangladesh.

“It would be a mistake to judge the Indian team on basis of their recent performances because the conditions are totally different in Bangladesh,” newly-appointed consultant Abbas said at the Gaddafi.

“There will be something at the back of their minds that they lost these series, but it will not be a factor to rule them out of the Asia Cup… We can’t take them lightly,” he said.

India failed to win a single match on tours of South Africa and New Zealand.

Zaheer, who is also the batting coach of the team, noted that conditions in Bangladesh have favoured batsmen and India have a strong batting line-up.

“There is always that pressure of a Indo-Pak match… so it is going to be difficult for both teams regardless of their recent results,” Abbas said.

“We are working hard at the camp to prepare for the Asia Cup and we have spoken about the fact that India have done better than us in ICC events… They also beat us in the last Asia Cup and World T20,” he said.

Zaheer said that as batting coach he was explaining the importance of staying at the crease and playing positively.

“As far as the batting is concerned, if it starts to click consistently than I have no doubt that our team has the potential to not only win the tournament but also improve its rankings,” he said.

“My main focus has been to tell them that if someone is in and is batting well he needs to finish off the job and not wait for others to do it.”

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s bowling coach Mohammed Akram has said that the Asia Cup will be a tough assignment for all teams.

Akram, a former Test pacer whose contract was renewed by the Pakistan Cricket Board recently, said it was not just about India in the Asia Cup.

“I think overall it will be a tough tournament for all teams because in conditions which favour the batsmen even Afghanistan can be a threat,” Akram said.

“Even Afghanistan can’t be taken lightly in the Asia Cup and it is a competition that any team can win,” he pointed out.

“All the teams are tough customers in tough conditions but obviously the India match will be important. But the way our bowlers have been bowling in recent times I am confident we can do well.”

On India’s strong batting line-up, Akram reminded Pakistan have a formidable bowling attack to tame them.

“I will give you an interesting fact that in the 2200 overs we have bowled in Tests and ODIs in last one-and-a-half years, our bowlers have just sent down four no-balls,” he said.

Insisting that this was an indication of how disciplined the bowlers were, he said in the last 55 matches Pakistani bowlers had bowled out a team 30 times for less than 200 runs.

“If I am not wrong only five times a team has crossed 300 against us in these conditions.”

Akram also talked about implementing a rotation policy for the Pakistani bowlers given the huge amount of international cricket being played these days.