Former Pakistani paceman Shoaib Akhtar has praised the Indian team for their clinical victory in the semi-final of the ongoing U19 World Cup against Pakistan at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom on Tuesday. Akhtar was impressed with the captaincy of Priyam Garg and claimed that Indian cricket is in safe hands.
The Rawalpindi-born was critical of Pakistan’s fielding efforts and expressed the Rohail Nazir-led side did not deserve to go in the finals of the tournament.
“Congratulations to the Pakistan U19 team for reaching the semis. It was a good effort but not good enough to take you to the finals. It was a pathetic fielding performance by Pakistan. Despite being U19, can’t you put in dives while fielding? They did not deserve to be in the finals, but on the other end, congratulations to India for winning the semis,” Akhtar said in a video posted on his YouTube channel.
“They won it and won it comprehensively. Indian team deserves praise, and they must be told that there are some players in your team who will surely represent India in the future. I am thrilled to see that India’s future is in the right hands,” he added.
The 44-year-old sang the praises of Yashasvi Jaiswal, who smashed a magnificent century to take his side over the line.
“India’s boy Jaiswal, he left his village to come to Mumbai and used to sleep in milk dairies. He has scored two centuries in U19 cricket. Jaiswal used to sell pani-puri in the morning. He sold pani puris to his teammates to have food on his plate.”
“Imagine this kind of a guy who will be street smart and will fight for his place. Rajasthan Royals bought Jaiswal and remember my words that Jaiswal is going to go places. He has the power, passion and interest for the game. He will represent the senior team; this is a guarantee. Saxena also played well.”
“Pakistan players need to learn from Jaiswal’s history. He is running behind excellence, and money is running behind him now,” Akhtar added further.
Akhtar even criticized Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for not spending enough money to bring former cricketers who can guide the youngsters to perform well. He gave an example of India’s Rahul Dravid and said if you (PCB) bring big players, then it helps the team to produce good results.
The ‘Boys in Blue’ will face the winner of Bangladesh versus New Zealand in the final on Sunday (Feb 09).