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CT 2017: Pakistani bowlers will have to be at top of their game to dismiss Kohli, says Shahid Afridi

"For me, bowling to Kohli was always a challenge and Pakistani bowlers would have to be on top of their game against him," he quoted.

Shahid Afridi
Shahid Afridi. (Photo by Neville Hopwood/Getty Images)

Former Pakistani all-rounder Shahid Afridi is eagerly waiting for the upcoming high-intensity India v Pakistan clash in the Champions Trophy 2017. Much like every other cricket fan, the excitement level is quite high for Afridi as well. He recently wrote at length about the upcoming clash in his column for the official website of ICC. The article centered around his analysis of the Indian team.

Shahid Afridi was very vocal in his appreciation for the Indian skipper Virat Kohli. He feels that the skipper will hold the key for India’s chances in the match. He noted that the Indian batting lineup can take on any bowling attack. The likes of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, and Yuvraj Singh are all quality batsmen who have the potential of hitting big knocks. He remembered how Kohli had plundered centuries against Pakistan in 2012 Asia Cup and 2015 ICC World Cup.

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Led by Virat Kohli, the Indians possess a formidable batting line-up that can flay any bowling attack on its day. Kohli’s credentials as a top-order batsman are known to all and he has played some memorable innings in the ODI format. I have vivid memories of his sublime century against us in the 2012 Asia Cup, while he was at his absolute best in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 clash at Adelaide, laying the foundation of an Indian win with a masterful hundred,” wrote Shahid Afridi.

“For me, bowling to Kohli was always a challenge and Pakistani bowlers would have to be on top of their game against him. They must try and attack, especially when he is new at the crease. If Pakistan dismisses Kohli cheaply, it will significantly increase its chances of restricting India to a low score,” he added further.

On Yuvraj Singh

Shahid Afridi is known to be great friends with most of the Indian cricketers. One of his good friends in the Indian dressing room is all-rounder Yuvraj Singh. He remarked that he is very pleased to see Yuvraj make a comeback to international cricket. He is hoping that the Indian batsman goes on to have a very wonderful tournament this year but not in the tournament opener for him against Pakistan.

“I am really pleased to see my old friend Yuvraj return to the international fold with renewed hunger and passion for the game. I wish him the very best and hope to see him play in his usual belligerent way. Yuvi is a treat to watch when in full flow and some of his shots leave you awestruck. I do hope though that he reserves his best for the games following the opener against Pakistan!” he remarked.

On Jasprit Bumrah

Shahid Afridi was all pleased with the Indian bowlers too. He noted that the likes of Mohammad Shami can clock serious pace and Bhuvneshwar Kumar has the ability to swing the ball either ways. However, one bowler that seemed to impress him the most was Jasprit Bumrah. Talking about Bumrah, he said that the bowler bowls perfect yorkers like the Pakistani bowlers have traditionally been bowling.

“I am hugely impressed by the skillset and temperament of young Jasprit Bumrah. He bowls what I call the ‘Pakistani Yorker’ almost at will. He reminds us of our pacers of yore who had mastered the skill of bowling the perfect yorker, especially during the 90s,” he conceded.

On the contest

Lastly, he admitted that the Indian team will enter the match as the favorites. However, he is hoping for the men in green to show great fightback against the Indians. All in all, Shahid Afridi expects a thrilling and memorable contest to be on the cards for the fans to witness in the mega event.

“India enters the game against Pakistan on a high and has the ‘favourite’ tag. However the ‘Green-shirts’ can surely spring a surprise with a committed and passionate performance according to present day cricket requirements,” quoted Afridi.

“I’m hoping we all get to see another memorable contest that befits the India-Pakistan rivalry. Let the best team take the honours, and more importantly, let it be an entertaining and memorable battle that provides rich entertainment to billions around the world,” he conceded further.

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