Do not take Sri Lanka lightly, Zaheer Abbas warns Pakistan

Play aggressive cricket from the word go, the 'Asian Bradman' offers advice to Pakistan team

June 06, 2019
Play aggressive cricket from the word go, 'Asian Bradman' Zaheer Abbas offers advice to Pakistan team 

BRISTOL: Zaheer Abbas knows a thing or two about Bristol and its picturesque County Ground. Having played here on several occasions during his highly successful county stints, the former Pakistan captain has “beautiful” memories of the city.

On Friday, Zaheer is hoping to add another pleasant memory by watching Pakistan beat Sri Lanka in their ICC World Cup encounter.

“I’m sure we are going to win tomorrow,” Zaheer told Geo Super in an interview on Thursday. “The way we beat England in our last game, I think we can beat any team in this tournament. In fact I believe we have what it takes to win this World Cup,” added Zaheer, who played 62 One-day Internationals and 78 Tests for Pakistan during an illustrious career.

He took an afternoon train from London to ensure that he gets to the game in time. Zaheer did that despite being told that there is a big chance that rain could spoil or even wash out Friday’s game.

“Rain is something that is part and parcel of life in England. If it rains then it and you can’t do much about it. But I’m hoping that it doesn’t rain because it’s a really important game for us and we can’t afford to lose one point in case there is a wash out,” he said.

Zaheer sees Friday’s match as a vital game for Pakistan because it’s one of those ones in which “you cannot afford to lose any point.”

“The way Sri Lanka have played in the recent past and in their two previous World Cup games make them one of the weaker sides in the tournament. That means you have to win against them to make sure that you stay in the hunt for a place in the semifinals,” he said.

But Zaheer was quick to add that Pakistan should not take them lightly.

“This is the World Cup. Here you can’t take anything for granted. The Sri Lankans might not be at their best but they are an unpredictable team. Pakistan must be at their best,” he said.

So what’s the one tip Zaheer would give to the Pakistan team?

“I would tell them to play aggressive cricket from the word go. Sri Lanka are low on confidence and our team must exploit that. They must go on the attack. Their batting line-up looks brittle and we must go after their batsmen.

“The other is that we have to give a better display in the outfield. You can win matches by taking the catches.”

On the top of Zaheer’s list of players to watch out for in this game are Babar Azam and Wahab Riaz.