Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan led the chorus of appreciation for the Pakistan team after its stunning one-wicket win over India in the Asia Cup, showering special praise on senior allrounder Shahid Afridi for his electrifying cameo.
“Afridi fulfilled his responsibilities as a senior player and I am happy to see him playing so well under a lot of pressure,” Imran said.
Pakistan’s former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar said while Pakistan had secured a great win, one should remain realistic. “I think it was not our batting but our bowling that won us the match as they restricted India to a reasonable total on a good batting track,” he said.
He pointed out that India badly missed the services of M.S. Dhoni as captain and batsman and that Virat Kohli had made some mistakes as captain. “He should have kept at least two overs for Shami knowing the way Pakistan’s batting collapses,” he added.
Pakistan’s former captain, Muhammad Yousuf said the Indian batsman appeared a bit over-confident. “I got this feeling they were over confident and tried to play too many strokes and they paid the price,” he said.
Yousuf praised the Pakistan bowlers for their good effort on a batting track. “The bowlers provided the impetus for the win.”
Asked about Afridi’s match-winning innings, Yousuf said the allrounder could win or lose matches for both sides. “Today he won the match for Pakistan.”
Pakistan’s designated chief selector, Rashid Latif felt India made a mistake in not selecting Yuvraj Singh for the Asia Cup, particularly when Dhoni was not available and Suresh Raina had been sidelined.
“I don’t know why Yuvraj was not selected because he remains a limited-overs player and today India missed his aggressive attitude and allround ability.”
Latif also felt that Kohli was a quality player, but needed to curb his aggression to be successful as captain.
Pakistan’s former batsman and ex-head coach Mohsin Khan said Afridi had shown why it was necessary to retain faith in senior players. “I think everyone contributed, but the way Afridi handled the pressure in the final over, that was the winning moment for Pakistan.”
Mohsin pointed out that Pakistan should have won the match more comfortably after restricting India to a gettable total. “But that is the way this team plays, it makes things difficult for itself.”
Pakistan’s banned fast bowler, Muhammad Amir said Pakistan had won a great match after a long time. “Afridi showed his value to the team and he remains a big asset for us.”
As soon as the match ended there were wild celebrations in every part of the country with youngsters waving Pakistan flags and banners and riding atop cars in the eastern city of Lahore where the match was followed with huge interest.