Akhtar relishing Pakistan-India T20 battle


Former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar is relishing the prospect of Mohammad Amir facing off against the mighty Indian batting line up at the upcoming Asia Cup T20, but has warned authorities that the rivalry may lose its drama if the two teams don’t play regularly.

Amir picked up only six wickets in the five limited-overs encounters against New Zealand recently but showed glimpses of his past self and is also tipped to win back his national contract.

The 23-year-old will get a chance to further get into rhythm at the Pakistan Super League, kicking off on February 4, but Akhtar says it will be his performance against India at the Asia Cup which will really define the left-armer fast bowler’s comeback from the five-year spot-fixing ban.

“For me, Virat Kohli is the best batsman right now and Wahab Riaz has changed so much as a pace bowler. Where’s the opportunity to test their skills against each other? A youngster like Mohammed Amir could learn so much bowling to this Indian top-order. In fact, that’s something I’m really looking forward to when the Asia Cup begins,” Akhtar was quoted as saying by The Times of India.

The former pacer, who was involved in plenty of cracking fixtures between Pakistan and India, urged cricket authorities to push for more matches between the two teams.

“It’s very depressing that there’s not been much cricket between India and Pakistan, not as much as it should ideally be. This generation is missing out on the beauty of that rivalry,” Akhtar said.

“Politics, be it in [cricket] administration or any other platform should be handled separately and cricket should go on. There’s always a way out.”

Pakistan will take on India first at the Asia Cup on February 27 followed by the marquee World T20 clash on March 19.