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June 15, 2019

Pakistan play down Bumrah factor


June 15, 2019

MANCHESTER: When Pakistan take the field at Old Trafford looking for their first World Cup win against old foes India on Sunday, one of the biggest hurdles they would most likely face is going to be Jasprit Bumrah.

The 25-year-old is regarded as one of the most lethal pacers in international cricket and could play a decisive role in the eagerly-awaited match against Pakistan, a team which relies too heavily on its top-order.

So have the Pakistanis, who carried out an extensive indoor training session here at Old Trafford on Friday, worked out any special plan to deal with Bumrah and the rest of the Indian attack?

Ask Babar Azam, the backbone of Pakistan’s batting line-up, and he would tell you that there is nothing special lined up to deal with the Indian attack or its lynchpin Bumrah. “There is nothing special planned for him (Bumrah),” said Babar soon after taking his turn in the nets. “It’s the same plan for all their players,” he added.

Asked again, Babar reiterated that “We won’t change changed plans for Bumrah. Personally I plan to deal with him and the rest of the Indian bowling by playing natural game. I’ll just out there and apply myself.”

Babar acknowledged that India are a good bowling side but was quick to add that Pakistan have the confidence to counter it. “Their bowling is very good. But we have faced England’s pace attack which was quite potent. We did well against them.”

While Babar tried to downplay the Bumrah factor, it would certainly be on the minds of the team’s think-tank. Having taken five wickets in two World Cup games, Bumrah is yet to really spit fire in the tournament. But he could do that in the crunch match against Pakistan on Sunday.

Bumrah, who has taken 90 wickets from 51 ODI appearances at an average of 21.98, can be a tough customer with his unorthodox action and sharp pace.

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