Former Indian cricketer Ashish Nehra feels Pakistan missed star pacer Naseem Shah badly during their 2023 World Cup match against India in Ahmedabad on Saturday, October 14.
Nehra claimed that the pace attack looked completely different when Naseem was fit and opined that the Men in Green just couldn’t get enough contribution from their spinners as well.
Speaking to Cricbuzz alongside former teammate Virender Sehwag after India’s win, here’s what Ashish Nehra had to say about Pakistan’s bowling (5:00):
“Pakistan’s bowling attack also didn’t look as threatening as it used to when they played four pace options including Naseem Shah. Even their two spinners Shadab and Nawaz are a bit like all-rounders. While the ball was gripping a bit for the spinners, till they came into the attack, India had already scored a lot of runs. Alongside their batting, Pakistan’s bowling is also a major cause for concern. They just didn’t stand any chance.”
Sehwag also weighed in on the issue of the Pakistan spinners not being able to strike in Indian conditions. He added (6:14):
“The big problem that Pakistan is facing is their spinners Shadab and Nawaz not picking wickets. In India, your spinners need to pick wickets else there’s added pressure on the fast bowlers. We have seen how we lost tournaments when Jadeja-Ashwin couldn’t pick wickets in middle overs. Tours become too long when your bowlers can’t pick wickets and batters can’t score runs. If they don’t sort this out, they’re in trouble.”
Ashish Nehra on the difference between Indian and Pakistan spinners
Ashish Nehra also shed light on how well Kuldeep Yadav bowled and ensured that he maintained the squeeze before dismissing both Saud Shakeel and Iftikhar Ahmed in the same over.
The former pacer reckons that’s where the game shifted in India’s favour, something the Pakistan spinners weren’t able to do. He stated (7:22):
“If you look at India’s bowling, Pakistan had got off to a great start. But it was the over where Kuldeep picked up two wickets that changed the game. He created that pressure in his initial overs and then got the rewards later. You don’t see that penetration in Pakistan’s spinners when you compare it to India’s.”
Pakistan will need to ensure that the defeat doesn’t leave scars as they still are pretty much in the race to the semifinals with some important games to come.