Asia Cup 2018: Laxman feels Shoaib Malik will hold key for Pakistan
Arch-rivals India and Pakistan are set to clash in the Asia Cup on September 19 and while people from the two countries have already started counting the days to the big game, former India batsman VVS Laxman feels that senior pro Shoaib Malik will have a big role to play in the game if Pakistan are to beat Rohit Sharma-led India.
“The reason he does well against India is his experience, he is a good player of spin bowling because in the middle invariably India will look to attack with the spinners and they’ve got two quality risk spinners now in, Chahal and Kuldeep while Pakistan is evidently dependent on their opener Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam at number 3,” Laxman said during a show on Star Sports.
Laxman added that Malik will have to play consistently well if Pakistan wish to win the tournament.
“Shoaib Malik is someone who would look to play the anchor role because he has got ability to rotate the strike, play down the ground, take easy singles,” he said.
“But at the same time when he presses the accelerator, he can play the big shots and he has got abundance of experience and he is a champion as far as the white ball is concerned,” he added.
Five-time champions India have rested regular skipper Kohli while Shikhar Dhawan has been named deputy to Rohit. Khaleel Ahmed is the new face in the squad as Kedar Jadhav makes a comeback into the 16-member squad after recovering from a hamstring injury sustained during the Indian Premier League. Ambati Rayudu also finds a place in the team as Suresh Raina gets the axe.
In the case of Kohli, chairman of selectors MSK Prasad said that the skipper’s workload management is paramount as he had issues with back injury in the earlier Tests in England this summer.
“Considering the workload, we have given him (Kohli) rest. He has been playing continuously for quite some time. He’s on the road from the IPL. So that is why looking at the workload we have given him rest,” Prasad said.