Waqar Younis turns up heat on Babar Azam's Pakistan with 'weaker team' jibe before World Cup

By, New Delhi
Sep 29, 2023 07:08 AM IST

Pakistan's Waqar Younis has issued a bold statement against Babar Azam and Co. in the lead-up to the World Cup.

Considered one of the most unpredictable teams in showpiece events, former world champions Pakistan will still fancy their chances of lifting the famous trophy in the India edition of the ICC World Cup next month. Champions in the 1992 edition of the World Cup, Babar Azam's Pakistan side will also be eager to end its long-standing losing streak against arch-rivals India in the 50-over World Cup.

Pakistan's former cricket players Wasim Akram (L) and Waqar Younis inspect the ground before the start of a match(AFP)
Pakistan's former cricket players Wasim Akram (L) and Waqar Younis inspect the ground before the start of a match(AFP)

Doing the unthinkable at the T20 World Cup in 2021, Pakistan stunned India with an unforgettable 10-wicket win over Virat Kohli and Co. to register its first-ever triumph against India in World Cup events. Under the leadership of superstar Babar, the Men In Green also made it to the final of the World Cup last year in Australia. Though the Green Army is the current No.2 side in One Day Internationals (ODIs), legendary Pakistani pacer Waqar Younis has branded Babar's men a 'miss-and-hit' unit at the World Cup.

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'Pakistan will be under pressure'

"As we all know, it (India vs Pakistan) will be the biggest game, mother of all the games. So, when you play in Ahmedabad, you will have to control your nerves, and not only Pakistan will be under pressure since it is a weaker team as compared to India. But India will also be under pressure because the crowd in the stadium will create pressure on both the teams," Younis told Star Sports.

The former Pakistan skipper also claimed that Team India has an edge over Babar and Co. in the World Cup. Younis, who captained Pakistan in the 2003 edition of the World Cup, also admitted that the injury to pacer Naseem Shah was a huge loss for Pakistan. Speedster Shah suffered a shoulder injury in the Asia Cup. Pakistan will kickstart its World Cup campaign against the Netherlands at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on October 6.

‘Absence of Naseem Shah will be a big disadvantage’

"However, if we judge purely based on the team's performance, India definitely will be a better team," he added. Younis was also mindful of the Pakistani's unstable form, and said the injury-enforced absence of pacer Naseem Shah could put them in a significant disadvantage. If I talk about Pakistan, they are a miss and hit this time. The absence of Naseem Shah will be a big disadvantage because Naseem and Shaheen (Afridi) used to complement each other with new ball," Younis added.

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