Islamabad, Mar 19: Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram has warned the Shahid Afridi-led team against taking defending champions Australia lightly in their much-anticipated World Cup encounter today.
"The Australian pace attack is very strong. Lee, Johnson and Tait bowl at 90 miles per hour all the time. They have been very quiet in the tournament, but when they deliver the opposition goes down. Pakistan need to be very careful against them," the Daily Times quoted Akram, as saying.
The 44-year-old further criticized Pakistan's misfiring top-order, saying that the team had failed to implement their batting ploy.
"Pakistan do have a plan whenever they go out to bat, but they have failed to plan their innings. Ahmed Shehzad is unsure of a place in the side after five successive failures and he is still not able to play proper cricketing shots. The top-order needs to bat normally and not go for reckless strokes," Akram said.
Pakistan has not had a substantial contribution from the top order, with 28 against Sri Lanka their highest opening stand.
However, Pakistan's top-scorer against their previous opponents Zimbabwe, Asad Shafiq, drew some praise from Akram.
"Pakistan need not disturb their winning combination until and unless they want to play Shoaib Akhtar in the match seeing that the tournament will be his last as an international cricketer. Shafiq looks a solid player. Pakistan need somebody like him at No. 3 who can wait at the crease," Akram said.
"They should stick to the winning combination. If Shoaib is in their scheme of things, he will play. But, I feel they should give him a go because it is his last hurrah and he will run in and give his best to every ball," he added.
Shafiq had hit a timely 78 not out on his World Cup debut to shepherd Pakistan to a seven-wicket victory over Zimbabwe on Monday. (ANI)
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