Don't look to survive, look to score runs against Shaheen Afridi, says Gautam Gambhir
The countdown to the blockbuster clash of ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022 has begun with India set to take on Pakistan in their first match of the tournament on October 23.
With 'Mission Melbourne' in sight, the team led by Rohit Sharma will look to start the tournament with a win over their arch-rivals. Speaking exclusively on Star Sports show 'Game Plan', former T20 world cup winners Gautam Gambhir and Irfan Pathan dished out their analysis about India's game against Pakistan and how the side can approach the match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Gautam Gambhir spoke on how the Indian batsmen would have to try and keep Pakistani pace bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi at bay and what the batsmen's approach should be when taking on the speedster.
"When it comes to Shaheen Afridi, don't look to survive. Look to score runs from him. Because the moment you look to survive, everything becomes really small. Whether it's your backlift, whether it's your footwork, and obviously, in T20 cricket you can't look to survive. I know that he can be dangerous with the new ball, but again, irrespective, the Indian batters need to score more runs, get into better positions, and look to time the balls rather than to hit it. India will be fine because India has got the quality in their top 3 or 4 who can definitely take on Shaheen Shah Afridi."
Irfan Pathan said,"Look, one thing is clear. When you play at the MCG, the straight boundaries are not that big. It's the side boundaries that are massive. Obviously, India needs to be smart, especially the batting. Probably, it will be difficult to hit the side boundaries, so they have to play the gaps and probably convert the twos into threes and ones into twos, because running between the wickets will very important."
Irfan further spoke about how the Indian bowlers would face the likes of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan and how their bowlers would have to adjust their lengths to try and curb the opposition.
"Don't give them any width whatsoever, especially Rizwan, because he's the guy who takes the Powerplay on his shoulders. Just try to get the pace going. Babar takes his time. So, you need to be aware of those situations and those batters. First of all, the line has to be on the stumps, with tight lines. And with both batters, the length changes slightly, " said former India pacer Irfan Pathan.
"When it comes to Rizwan, you can afford to bowl more fuller. You can try to hit him beneath the knee roll. This is where your line and length can be. And when it comes to Babar Aazam, you need to get him out leg before wicket, but your aim should not be on his front leg, it should be behind his leg because he's slightly open. See, you need to make that kind of planning. This is where Arshdeep and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar come in with that in-swinging delivery. We need to be aware that Pakistan are not very good with spin bowling. So, you need to keep an eye whether you can give one odd over to spinners in the Powerplay. I'll be very tempted to see what the team management is doing," he added.