Former Australia cricketer Matthew Hayden shared his insights on the upcoming clash between India and Pakistan in the Asia Cup 2023, highlighting the challenge posed by Pakistan’s formidable pace trio consisting of Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah.
The much-anticipated match is scheduled to kick off on September 2.
Hayden emphasised the uniqueness of the Pakistan pace trio, each having a specific approach for India. He pointed out that the conditions in Kandy often offer significant bounce, particularly favoring Haris Rauf, who excels at targeting the top of the off-stump.
“India is playing against Pakistan’s pace trio. Well, I can tell you this is one of the spiciest competitions on the planet. We’ve got Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, and Naseem. Three very different types of bowlers and unique bowlers which require unique plans from Team India. Firstly, the conditions here in Kandy tend to have quite a lot of bounce, so you’ve got to watch that out, especially Haris Rauf. He’ll want to really hustle in and hit the top of off stump,” Hayden said on Star Sports.
Against the fiery Shaheen Afridi, Hayden advised caution, recalling the left-arm pacer’s ability to take early wickets, including the memorable delivery that dismissed captain Rohit Sharma in the recent T20 World Cup encounter.
Hayden suggested India adopt a conservative approach against Afridi, especially during the initial overs if the ball is swinging. Regarding Naseem Shah, Hayden suggested that India should have an aggressive strategy to put the young fast bowler under pressure, making them feel in control of the game.
“You’ve got to be conservative against Shaheen Afridi. Remember back to the World Cup more recently; Shaheen was able to take early wickets. We’ll never forget that ball that he bowled to Captain Rohit Sharma, so a little bit of caution against Shaheen Afridi. If it’s swinging, look to play out those first three overs. And I think with Naseem, even though he will shape the ball, Pakistan can be in a position to advance forward with India managing to take them out of play by aggressive plays against someone like Naseem. Put him under pressure, feel like you are in front of the game,” Hayden said.
Despite acknowledging the talent in Pakistan’s pace attack, Hayden ultimately expressed his confidence in Team India, citing their deeper and classier batting lineup, as well as their recent good form. He predicted that India would emerge victorious in this highly anticipated showdown.
“All in all, though, I think it’s going to be Team India that’s going to win. I think they’ve got a deeper, classier batting lineup, and I think they’ve got form on the board as well,” Hayden said.