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India firm favourites for World Cup: Wasim Akram – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram feels that India are firm favourites to win the forthcoming World Cup in England.

In his column for the Times of India, Akram wrote, “Among the teams that are involved in the cricket World Cup, Pakistan have always been an outfit that people loved to watch and follow. You can never write them off. India look firm favourites for me. New Zealand are the dark horses, but Pakistan are right up there.”

Arguably the best left-arm pacer to play the game, Akram gave credit to the Pakistan Super League and the Pakistan Cricket Board for the resurgence of Pakistan cricket.

“I’ll give credit to the Pakistan Super League and our board for the resurgence of Pakistan cricket. We have a young side – apart from a Mohammad Hafez and a Shoaib Malik, everyone is in their mid 20s. They are young, as well as experienced. The fielding also has improved. After the Pakistan Super League, Pakistan are playing five ODIs in England against England, which would be ideal practice before the World Cup,” Akram added.

Akram marked out Faheem Ashraf for special praise and hoped that he improves both his bowling and batting to become a match-winner.

“The one Pakistan cricketer I want to see perform is Faheem Ashraf, because he’s been the all-rounder Pakistan are looking for. He just has to improve his bowling a bit, and be consistent with the bat. He can be a match-winner. Shadab Khan (leg-spinner) was the Man of the Match against South Africa on Wednesday night. I also want Rizwan to perform because that can put pressure on Sarfraz Ahmed. Babar Azam, who was the best batsman on the difficult South Africa tour, looks confident and is in good nick. However, to prevent over-confidence, he must forget about what he did in South Africa,” Akram opined.

Akram expressed happiness on how the Pakistan Super League is shaping up.

“It’s the fourth season of PSL now, and it has been the most-watched league in Pakistan TV history – 70% of Pakistanis watched it last year. Everyone supports one team or the other. Everything is very well-organised,” Akram concluded.

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