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Akram backs Shoaib to play against India

Posted by on March 26, 2011 0 Comment

New Delhi, March 26 (IANS) Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram Saturday backed the inclusion of fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar for the team’s World Cup semi-final against India, saying the Rawalpindi Express can be ‘dangerous’ against the arch-rivals.

Akram, who was member of the Pakistan squad that lost World Cup tie to India in 2003, said Shoaib Akhtar always gives his best against India. The 35-year-old pacer will be retiring after the World Cup.

“Shoaib against the Indians is always very dangerous. I know it is a big risk, but luck favours the brave. Tendulkar (Sachin) and Virender Sehwag are top-class players but against Shoaib it’s a different duel altogether. He is an entertainer and he loves the big stage,” Akram was quoted as saying by Mobile ESPN.

“I feel he deserves a place for sure. Wahab Riaz is bowling well but he is nothing exceptional and Shoaib could take his place. Shoaib’s only problem in this tournament has been his second spell. I have advised him to warm up before the second spell and that will help him.”

India have never lost to Pakistan in World Cup history and Akram said even this time also the home team will be the favourites.

“I feel that India are the favourites against Pakistan. Though Pakistan are also playing good cricket, India are definitely strong on paper, are an experienced side. Pakistan have an edge in the bowling department, they have a better variety. India-Pakistan match is always a pressure-cooker affair, whether you play in front of an empty stand or in Timbuktu. It will certainly be a close game,” he said.

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