Birmingham, June 25 (IANS) Former Pakistan speedster Wasim Akram has advised Safaraz Ahmed not to tinker with the winning combination and go with an unchanged playing XI against New Zealand in their crucial World Cup match to be played on Wednesday at Edgbaston.
Pakistan kept their hopes of making it to the semi-finals of the ongoing tournament alive after registering a comfortable 49-run victory over South Africa on Sunday, thus knocking them out of the competition.
He also hoped for a repeat of 1992’s show when Pakistan had defeated the Black Caps — who were also unbeaten till that match — by seven wickets in their crucial World Cup game played at the AMI Stadium in Christchurch.
“They were unbeaten in 1992 too before playing against us and we won the game, they’re unbeaten again and I hope we repeat the show, but boys will have to give their best,” Wasim told Pakistan’s Geo TV.
“There’s no need to change the winning combination,” he added.
However, Akram wants Pakistan to improve their fielding, especially their catching which has been very poor so far in the tournament.
Pakistan have dropped as many as 14 catches in the six games they have played so far. “We have dropped 14 catches in the tournament. We are top on the list of teams dropping most catches in the World Cup which isn’t a good sign,” Akram said.
“This isn’t something new, but we need to overcome this problem,” he added.
The former captain also added that Babar Azam needs to start converting his fifties into hundreds if he wants to become a world-class batsman.
Azam has scored two half-centuries in the World Cup so far, which came against England and South Africa, but was subsequently dismissed for 63 and 69 respectively. He also scored 48 against arch-rivals India before being clean bowled by spinner Kuldeep Yadav.
“The openers did well, Babar did well, but Babar needs to convert his fifties into hundreds,” said Akram while speaking of the Proteas game.
Pakistan have five points from six games and are currently placed at the seventh spot in the table. They need to win all their remaining three games and also hope that results of matches of other teams go in their favour so that they can make it to the last four stage.