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 all-rounder 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 lot of pressure,” Imran said.
Pakistan’s former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar said while Pakistan had secured a great win but one must remain realistic at all times.
“I am happy that Pakistan won but 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.
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“He should have kept at least two overs for Shami knowing the way Pakistan’s batting collapses at times,” he added.
Pakistan’s former captain, Muhammad Yousuf said Indian batsman appeared a bit over-confident when they batted first.
“I don’t know but I got this feeling they were over confident and tried to play too many strokes and they paid the price. On this pitch India fell short by at least 60 to 70 runs,” he said.
Yousuf praised the Pakistani bowlers for putting in a good effort on a batting track.
“The bowlers provided the impetus for the win.”
Asked about Afridi’s match winning innings, Yousuf said the all-rounder can win and lose matches for both sides.
“Today he won the match for Pakistan.”
Pakistan’s designated chief selector, Rashid Latif felt that India made a mistake by 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 all round ability. I think his experience would have helped against the Pakistani spinners.”
Latif also felt that Kohli was a quality player but needed to curb his aggression to be successful as captain on the international front.
Pakistan’s former batsman and former head coach Mohsin Khan said Afridi had shown why it was necessary to retain faith in senior players like him.
“I think everyone contributed in the win but the way Afridi handled the pressure in the final over, that was the winning moment for Pakistan. He kept his nerves and won the match for Pakistan.”
Mohsin, who has also remained chief selector, pointed out that Pakistan should have won this 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 Aamir said that 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.