Shoaib Akhtar Lauds India Team
India’s Ajinkya Rahane has a fan in former Pakistan speedster, Shoaib Akhtar, who recently extolled Rahane’s virtues on his YouTube channel, “Team India has beaten Australia like how you beat up a person in a sack. Characters are not made in crisis, they are exhibited. Team India has exhibited their talent when they were in deep crisis. This is team India’s character.
“The best part was that they showed heart and courage today. They didn’t have 3 of their star players but it didn’t matter to them. Ajinkya Rahane quietly led the team, but his success is making all the noise for him today. They say work hard in silence and let your success make the noise,” he added.
The verbal plaudits had to do with Team India making four substantive changes, two of which were forced, after playing XI which lost in Adelaide. Young guns, Shubman Gill and Mohammad Siraj, were handed their debut caps in India’s 8-wicket win over Australia in the Boxing Day Test. The rising stars put on quite a show and it did not go unappreciated.
“India picked Siraj, he took 5 wickets. He is still young, couldn’t be by his father’s side when he passed away. He paid tribute to his father with his performance. Then came Gill, he’s certainly a big star in the making. So, Team India showed their character, that they have guts, heart, and courage,” Akhtar further said.
“What impressed me the most was they should have fallen flat on their face in this match after the kind of defeat they suffered in the 1st Test. But they didn’t. They rose up to the challenge. When teams show their character like this, it doesn’t matter which religion or country the players belong to, I feel very happy,” he concluded.
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Pakistan’s Sharjeel Khan Looking Ahead
Sharjeel Khan is a big bopper, and he feels he has what it takes to take his place in Pakistan’s T20 World Cup roster for the next few seasons.
Although he has been absent from international competition for nearly four years, he has been on a tear during the current Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. He believes putting up big numbers domestically will set the stage for him to return to the international cricket scene, even at the age of 31, with other members of his country.
“I am not in the habit of thinking too far ahead as immediate goals interest me more,” he told PakPassion. “In fact, I don’t even think about the past.’’ It’s the present and what I can do now to help my career is what I think about.
“Yes, I am 31 now and most importantly, I am enjoying my cricket with an eye to making a comeback to the Pakistan side. But for that to happen, I will need to perform exceptionally well in domestic cricket, which is all I am focused on doing.”
“At the moment, I am looking to continue performing well in the remaining games of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and after that, I am aiming to do my best in the Pakistan One-Day Cup.
“Once these tournaments are over, my attention will turn to next year’s PSL and to do my best in that competition as well.”
“Of course, the two T20 World Cups in 2021 and 2022 are also on my horizon and my performances in the PSL will hopefully go a long way in putting me in contention for these tournaments. But before Khan can look to the future, he must think about the present, which includes his overall fitness. Fans and former players alike criticized the big hitter for getting too fat and letting his overall conditioning slip during the current Pakistan Super League.”
“That is true but let me also say that even during the time I wasn’t playing cricket, I would look for opportunities to train and maintain my fitness, which is something I am still doing after my comeback,” he told PakPassion.
“I have been given fitness plans by my domestic coaches and also by PSL staff and I am glad to say that I am following them to the letter, and my fitness is improving day by day.”