Asia Cup 2018: Shoaib Akhtar hopes Pakistan will come back a better side

Asia Cup 2018: Shoaib Akhtar hopes Pakistan will come back a better side

Akhtar was one among those who stood by his national side.

Shoaib Akhtar of Pakistan
Shoaib Akhtar of Pakistan. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Pakistan led by Sarfraz Ahmed faced a serious bashing after they lost to arch-rivals India in a group encounter in Dubai in the ongoing Asia Cup on Wednesday. A number of former cricketers accused the Men in Green of playing the game with a negative mindset and not applying themselves enough against India’s bowlers. Ahmed’s side was bowled out for a meagre 162 after they elected to bat and India romped home with 8 wickets and 21 overs to spare.

The only high point for Pakistan in the game was the 82-run partnership between Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik and once that was broken by Kuldeep Yadav, the former champions fell apart. While bowling, too, Pakistan couldn’t produce anything extraordinary to stop Rohit Sharma’s side from overhauling the target.

‘One loss doesn’t make Pak a lesser side’

Former Pakistani speedster Shoaib Akhtar, however, was one among those who stood by his national side. In a tweet, the 43-year-old advised the agitated minds to settle and not to think just one loss made Pakistan a lesser side. He hoped Pakistan will make a strong comeback the next time they meet the arch-rivals. India and Pakistan will lock horns again in this Asia Cup at the same venue in Dubai on September 23 in the Super Four stage.

In last year’s Champions Trophy in England, India had thumped Pakistan by 124 runs in their group encounter but in the final, it was the Men in Green who prevailed over their counterparts in blue, winning the match by 180 runs to lift their maiden Champions Trophy title.

In 1991, in a triangular ODI series in Sharjah featuring India, Pakistan and the West Indies, India had won their first match against Imran Khan’s Pakistan by 60 runs but the latter won the next game by 4 runs and then the final against Mohammad Azharuddin’s India by 72 runs to clinch the trophy.

Out of his total 163 ODIs, Akhtar played 28 against India, taking 41 wickets at an average of 26.78. His tally of wickets in ODIs is 247.

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