Int’l greats hail Pakistan team for lifting ICC Champions Trophy

1099

ISLAMABAD, June 19 (APP): International cricket fraternity has hailed
Pakistan team for defeating arch-rivals India in the final to lift ICC Champions Trophy for the first time on Sunday.
Former South African skipper Graeme Smith in his column for the
www.icc-cricket.com while appreciating Pakistan team said the fashion of Pakistan’s win in the final surprised him the most.
He said throughout the tournament, Pakistan’s strength had been its
bowling unit, spearheaded by Hassan Ali.
However, the way, they approached the final was superb.
“The batting was completely uninhibited by the occasion, and for Fakhar
Zaman to come up with a mature display like that in just his fourth international innings is outstanding,” he said.
He said that Pakistan’s innings was characterised by intent, and a
momentum which they maintained throughout.
“The hundred from Zaman was so full of class, and proved to be the
anchor to the Pakistan innings that as a team they have been short of all too often.”
He said the pitch at The Oval was tailor-made for strokeplay, and he was hugely impressed with how well Pakistan dealt with India’s bowling threat in comparison to the same fixture earlier in the tournament.
“The spinners were attacked cleverly and with real skill, and it’s not often you see both Ashwin and Jadeja go the distance in the same game.”
He said Mohammad Amir’s sensational opening spell quashed any real hope that India had of mounting a challenge, with the key wicket of Virat Kohli to go with Shikhar Darwhan and Rohit Sharma.
“He has the pace to trouble the very top players, and is very skillful with respect to when he makes use of his in-swinger. The presence of the swing was evidently in Kohlis mind as he nudged in uncharacteristic fashion against Amir early in his innings.”
“They (Pakistan) have been the only bowling unit to get the white ball moving with any sort of consistency, and the discipline they have shown as a team in terms of restricting and squeezing sides has gone a long way to winning them the tournament,” he added.
While appreciating Hassan Ali, the tournament’s leading he recalled that in the fixture against South Africa, he produced two moments of class to bowl Wayne Parnell and JP Duminy from around the wicket.
“That skill is one that will make him a truly potent force as long as he stays fit.”
He said Sarfaraz was excellent in terms of galvanizing the team from behind the stumps.
Former Australian batsman Michael Hussy while lauding Pakistan team for pulling off a superb victory said huge congratulations needed to go to Mickey Arthur, Sarfraz Ahmed, the support staff and players for showing great character and turning the team’s fortunes around.
“The final was the first time that I have experienced a match between the two great rivals live, and the atmosphere at the ground was just electric,” Hussey wrote in his column for www.icc-cricket.com.
“Pakistan was the underdog coming into the final but there was a feeling of destiny about it. Tournament play is all about peaking at the right time and after a poor start to the tournament, most pundits gave it no chance of winning. However, by the time it lifted the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 at The Oval, it was undoubtedly playing its best cricket,” he said.
He said that Pakistan’s bowling attack was brilliant with Mohammad Amir and Junaid Khan contributing well throughout the tournament but the emergence of a couple of newer players in Hasan Ali and Fakhar Zaman, who scored a brilliant century in the final was exciting for the future for Pakistan.
Former Sri Lankan skipper in his column for the same website said Pakistan team that turned up in the final was completely different outfit to the one that plunged to defeat in its opening game.
“Firing red-hot after wins against Sri Lanka and England, they were in a rampant mood, energised with new belief.”
“Opener Fakhar Zaman, playing in just his fourth ODI, emphasised better than anyone this resurgent belief, fighting off pre-match nerves, inexperience and illness. Like many of his youthful colleagues, he did not carry the psychological scars of previous failures to arch-rivals India and it showed,” he added.
He heaped praises on Mohammed Amir stating that he was one of the finest pace bowlers in the world right.
“Amir’s opening spell (in the final) was sensational. The in-swinging delivery to get Rohit Sharma was perfect and against Kohli he was undaunted by a dropped catch at first slip, nailing his man at backward point immediately after. A few overs later he found the outside edge of Shikar Dhawan with a probing, bouncing delivery.”
So on the day of the final, Pakistan found two heroes: one raw and brave, the other experienced and highly-skilled. Fakhar and Amir were brilliant.