Exclusive: If India don't make mistakes, it will be difficult for Pakistan to win, says Latif

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With Ravichandran Ashwin (left), Varun Chakravarthy and Ravindra Jadeja in the team, India face a selection dilemma in spin department. (BCCI Twitter)
With Ravichandran Ashwin (left), Varun Chakravarthy and Ravindra Jadeja in the team, India face a selection dilemma in spin department. (BCCI Twitter)

Published: Sat 23 Oct 2021, 4:48 PM

Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif believes India will be the overwhelming favourites when the two traditional rivals lock horns in the T20 World Cup at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday.


Rituraj Borkakoty

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Pakistan’s fortunes, according to Latif, depend on playing their best cricket and hoping that the hugely experienced Indian team make mistakes on the field.

“In my opinion, no matter how well Pakistan play, if Indian players don’t make mistakes, then it will be difficult for Pakistan to win the match,” Latif told Khaleej Times over the phone from Pakistan.

“When I captained Pakistan, I always tried to induce errors from the opposition. Of course, you have to do your own job first, but at the same time, it’s important to make the other team commit mistakes. So it’s not just about the technique or skills, it’s about tactics. You have to get your tactics right and try to make the other team commit errors.”

And the embarrassment of riches on the Indian side could lead to poor decision-making from skipper Virat Kohli.

“We have to see what Virat does if he wins the toss, and what combination he will be play,” Latif said. “Will he play Suryakumar Yadav? Or Ishan Kishan? Then you also have to see which spinners they will play. There is Varun Chakravarthy, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. So there is a chance of making a mistake by the captain in terms of picking the right players because you have so many options.”

The former wicketkeeper-batsman has no doubts, though, that the Babar Azam-led Pakistan will put their best foot forward in search of their first win over India in a World Cup game.

“If you see the record, India have always won these matches in the World Cup. And before every World Cup game against them, we in Pakistan always say that this time we will win. So I am sure the Pakistan team will give their best to win this match tomorrow,” he said.

And Pakistan would be hoping to take advantage of Kohli’s recent struggle against spinners in the T20s.

“I don’t think he is having an issue with his form overall. But yes, he is having issues when it comes to batting in T20s,” Latif said.

“Until last year’s IPL, he used to bat at number three or four. But then he felt the need to open because he wanted to play more overs. Individually, yes, he is a terrific player in T20s as well, but Kohli takes a bit of time to get going in the middle overs, it’s something you can’t do in T20s.”

There has been a steady decline in Kohli’s strike rate against spinners in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and this year his scoring rate of 107.5 was among the worst.

“I was just checking the record, his strike-rate against the spinners is not so good now. Babar Azam’s strike rate against the spinners is much better. So Virat needs to improve his scoring rate against spinners,” Latif said.

“Of course, he is an outstanding player against fast bowling. Virat is at his best in the 17th or the 18th over of a T20 innings, but he needs to last that long. There is absolutely no doubt about the player’s class. The problem is he cannot change himself. He cannot become Hardik Pandya or Ishan Kishan. He is Virat Kohli and he will remain Virat Kohli.”

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