Former Australian batsman Mike Hussey has offered a piece of advice for Indian bowlers to tackle the swashbuckling Pakistan opener, Fakhar Zaman, when India take on their arch-rivals in the Asia Cup at Dubai on September 19.
Hussey, who has the international experience of 79 Tests, 185 ODIs and 38 T20Is, told the Indian bowlers to take the pace off the ball and urged them to be very disciplined to outsmart the southpaw.
“So plans for India against Fakhar (Zaman) is got to be nice, tight line and length, be very disinclined and try and maintain that pressure, try and build up some pressure on him with some dot balls and make him go for the big shots earlier than what he wants to do,” Hussey quoted as saying by PTI.
“I thing change of pace could work against him because he goes hard at the ball, taking the pace off it (the ball) could be advantageous,” he added.
On Friday (July 20), Zaman became the first Pakistani batsman and sixth overall to score a double-century in One-Day Internationals, when he smashed a career-best 210* off 156 balls against Zimbabwe in the fourth ODI at Bulawayo.
Fakhar joined an elite list of players - Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma, Chris Gayle and Martin Guptill - as the only players with double-hundreds in 50-over cricket. Moreover, he broke the 21-year long-standing record by Saeed Anwar to become Pakistan’s highest individual scorer in an ODI innings. Anwar had scored 194 against India in Chennai back in 1997.
“What great form he is been off late and who could forget his century in the ICC Champions Trophy (final) against India, not too long ago,” Hussey remarked.
“Such an exciting player, very attacking, likes to score quickly, backs himself and plays with no fear and he is hard to bowl to, because he can score all-round the ground. The margin for error for the bowlers is very very small,” he explained.
Hussey predicts that India and Pakistan will be favourites in the six-nation Asia Cup. However, he didn’t rule out Afghanistan to come up with a surprise or two in the tournament.
“Looking ahead towards the Asia Cup, India and Pakistan are the favourites, both been playing some excellent ODI cricket and quality ODI teams,” he opined.
“But the surprise package could be Afghanistan, any team with Rashid Khan and Mujeeb (Ur Rahman) in them, is not easy to beat, so keep an eye, so if they score enough runs, they are going to be hard to beat,” Hussey concluded.