‘Pakistan are itching to play against New Zealand’ – Shoaib Akhtar
Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has said that Pakistan are itching to play against New Zealand. The two teams are set to cross swords on October 26, Tuesday in Sharjah. Ahead of the 20-20 World Cup, New Zealand were set to play three ODIs and five T20Is in Pakistan. However, the Kiwis abandoned the tour citing security issues. Since then, Pakistan fans and experts are keenly waiting for the game. They see the match as an opportunity to seek revenge.
“India is always a big game and the win was great but we as a nation are unhappy with New Zealand. It is a big game for us. We are itching to play against them and we have to win the match against them,” Akhtar said.
Talking about Pakistan’s win over India, Akhtar said it was a great morale booster and would have induced a lot of self-belief in the team. He added if Pakistan can go on to win the 20-20 World Cup, it will inspire the coming generations.
“We were demoralized. We haven’t played cricket on home soil for 15 years and when New Zealand was finally going to come but their bailing out didn’t help our cause either. So when India against Pakistan came along, this win was important for the country of Pakistan. The win is so important for us because it helps us unite Pakistan cricket. If we win the World Cup, we have a chance of inspiring a generation. We don’t want to rub the loss into India’s face. It is bigger than that for us.”
Before the match, Harbhajan Singh had trolled Shoaib Akhtar by saying that Pakistan should give India a walkover. Thus, when Pakistan won the match, Akhtar got an opportunity to troll back the former India spinner. Akhtar though clarified that he and Harbhajan and good friends thus they don’t mind taking funny digs at each other.