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ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Pakistan look weak, feels Mushtaq Mohammed

The 75-year-old still feels the same excitement when such a high profile clash takes place

By Indranil Majumdar in Manchester
  • Published 16.06.19, 2:38 AM
  • Updated 16.06.19, 2:38 AM
  • 2 mins read
Mushtaq Mohammed Telegraph picture

Mushtaq Mohammed knows the emotion and passion that is associated with an India-Pakistan match. He was Pakistan’s captain during the 1978-79 revival series in Pakistan.

Settled in England for decades, the 75-year-old still feels the same excitement when such a high profile clash takes place. But Mushtaq is not willing to take sides.

“This match may be about sentiments, but whichever team does well on the given day will win… If you play badly, you don’t deserve to win,” Mushtaq told The Telegraph from Birmingham on Saturday afternoon.

“Performance-wise, Pakistan look weak. India are a better side on paper but you can’t take such things into account in a one-day game. Who would have bet on Pakistan beating England?

“Pakistan are blowing hot and cold. If things go their way, it will be hard to contain them. That’s why they are so unpredictable. India are stronger but Pakistan can surprise them,” he said.

He doesn’t think Pakistan’s Champions Trophy final victory over India would mean much in the World Cup.

“Pakistan have been inconsistent over the years. Similarly, India committed a lot of mistakes in the Champions Trophy final. They played some irresponsible shots… But that’s been sometime back.”

Mushtaq has been impressed by the performance of Mohammed Aamir and Wahab Riaz.

“Aamir and Riaz have the ability to topple any batting side. They both can do well on their day.

“Wahab has made a comeback after being discarded for sometime. He’s become fitter and it’s showing in his bowling. He’s one of the quickest and a strike bowler.

“Aamir is younger and is slowly getting his rhythm back,” said Mushtaq.

He felt Pakistan’s bowling will face a tough challenge.

“India’s batting is stronger and it will be difficult to contain them… It will be a tough challenge for the Pakistan bowlers.

“Every Indian batsman seems to be in fine nick since they have come out of the IPL. It’s difficult to bowl them out in 50 overs. If they manage to score 300 or more, Pakistan will find it tough to chase.

“Virat Kohli is obviously good, but it wouldn’t be wise to ignore Rohit Sharma. Whoever settles down can be dangerous for Pakistan. Early wickets will be important.

“Mahendra Singh Dhoni too can turn it around. He’s supremely confident and allows his confidence to trickle down the order,” felt Mushtaq.

The Pakistan legend, who also had 79 Test wickets bowling legbreak, was disappointed at the spinners’ showing in the World Cup.

“The Indian spinners are better than Pakistan’s... But I haven’t found any one to be a match-winner. Kuldeep (Yadav) and (Yuzvendra) Chahal can generate more turn since they are wrist spinners instead of finger spinners.

“But not one is willing to turn the ball. That’s disappointing. It’s seems like they have forgotten how to bowl the leg break. I would call it negative tactics. No spinner has impressed me.”