Former Pakistan pacer Wasim Akram has warned that India’s new-ball seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar might struggle on Australian pitches due to his lack of pace. Akram reckons that Kumar is effective with the new ball, but needs speed to be impactful Down Under.
The right-arm seamer will likely lead India’s attack in the multi-nation event; however, his recent performances have left a lot to be desired. Barring figures of 4/26 against Pakistan and 5/4 against Afghanistan, Kumar has struggled for wickets in his last eight outings. The veteran has also proved expensive at death on multiple occasions.
Speaking to the Khaleej Times, Akram observed that while Kumar might struggle Down Under, he expects Australia’s bowling unit to dominate due to a better knowledge of pitches.
“India have Bhuvneshwar Kumar, he is good with the new ball, but with that pace, if the ball is not swinging, he will probably struggle there. But he is a very good bowler no doubt, swings both ways, has the yorker. But you need pace in Australia. It’s in Australia. The Australians will probably play well, they have a good bowling attack, they know those pitches.”
However, the Meerut-born player made a promising start to India’s quest to win the World Cup, picking up two wickets in the warm-up game against the Western Australian XI. He finished with figures of 4-0-26-2 as India defended 158 to win by 13 runs.
“They still haven’t named Bumrah’s replacement” – Wasim Akram
India’s pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah will miss the World Cup due to a back injury.
Akram highlighted that India’s batting unit is solid but they haven’t named a replacement for Bumrah yet.
He believes Pakistan can replicate last year’s success if their middle order clicks. He added:
“India have a good batting line-up. But they still haven’t named Bumrah’s replacement. Pakistan, their middle-order is struggling. If the middle-order clicks, Pakistan have a very good bowling attack and one of the best opening pairs. So if they can control the middle-order, they have a chance.”
The 2021 T20 World Cup saw Pakistan beat India for the first time in any World Cup game. While India faced a body blow as Bumrah was ruled out, Pakistan received a boost, with Shaheen Shah Afridi declaring himself fit. The two sides will face each other on October 23 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.