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Imran Khan Advised Pak Captain To Bat First, He Did Just The Opposite

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Imran Khan had led Pakistan to their only victory in the 1992 World Cup.

New Delhi: 

In the hours preceding the much-anticipated World Cup match with India in Manchester today, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan advised cricket team captain Sarfaraz Ahmed to bat first if he wins the toss. Being a former star cricketer who had led Pakistan to their only win in the tournament nearly three decades ago, he felt that the home team would fare better if they were setting a target instead of chasing one.

Sarfaraz Ahmed, however, had different ideas. He won the toss alright, but elected to bowl.

It is a decision that the Pakistan captain probably hopes he won’t regret. After 39 overs, India were at 238 with just two wickets down. And if Virat Kohli and his boys keep it up, they may just present a massive total that Pakistan would have a hard time chasing.

In a series of tweets on Sunday, Imran Khan had suggested that Sarfaraz Ahmed opt only for specialist bowlers and batsmen to ensure that Pakistan does not go belly up against its traditional rival. “Sarfaraz must go in with specialist batsmen and bowlers because ‘Railu Kattas’ rarely perform under pressure – especially the intense kind that will be generated today. Unless the pitch is damp, Sarfaraz must win the toss & bat,” he said.

Railu Katta, which literally translates to “wandering buffalo calf”, means a sportsperson who brings no value addition to his team.

As it turned out, Manchester witnessed no rains today and the pitch was relatively dry. Sarfaraz Ahmed, however, decided that bowling first should be the way to go for Pakistan. “India versus Pakistan is a big game but we just have to focus on playing our best game,” he said.

Incidentally, his strategy found the backing of Indian skipper Virat Kohli. “I would have bowled first too, to be honest. There’s a lot of attention outside of the ropes, but when you enter the field, it’s about applying the basics of the game,” he said, adding that the overcast conditions should assist Pakistan spearhead Mohammad Amir.

Describing Sarfaraz Ahmed as a “bold captain” who will have to be at his daring best today, Imran Khan had advised the Pakistan team to “banish all fears of losing” despite India being considered as the World Cup favourites by cricket pundits. “Just give your best and fight till the last ball. Then accept whatever the result like true sportsmen. The nation’s prayers are with all of you. Good Luck,” he tweeted.

Imran Khan, an all-rounder and legendary fast bowler, led Pakistan for a period of 10 years through the 80s and the 90s. In the 1992 World Cup finals, his team beat England by 22 runs to help Pakistan claim the World Cup.

Pakistan have never won against India in the ICC World Cup, and if they succeed in scoring a victory today, it will come as yet another feather in their cap.

(With inputs from ANI)

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