Wasim Akram brutally trolls ex-India star on live TV in IND vs PAK Asia Cup matc | Cricket

India and Pakistan cricketers, whether current or former, do not need a second invitation for having a banter with each other. While the camaraderie between India’s Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Mohammed Siraj and Pakistan’s Haris Rauf, Babar Azam, Shadab Khan was on display on the eve of the much-anticipated clash, the legendary Wasim Akram set the ‘sledge ball’ rolling. Minutes before the start of play on Saturday in Pallekele, Akram roasted former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar for his pitch report.

File photo of Wasim Akram and Sanjay Manjrekar in the Star Sports studio
File photo of Wasim Akram and Sanjay Manjrekar in the Star Sports studio

In his pitch report, Manjrekar called the 22-yards on offer at Pallekele ‘unique’ and said that the seam bowlers are likely to get movement, the ball might keep low on the odd occasion and the spinners will get some purchase. The former India batter ended his assessment by saying that good batters can also get a hundred if they get their eyes in.

When cameras switched to Akram, who was a part of the pre-match analysis team along with Matthew Hayden and Gautam Gambhir, he expressed his dismay at Manjrekar’s pitch report. “If I was a batter, I’d be very confused after listening to that pitch report,” Akram said on Star Sports. “It will swing, the spinners will get turn, it might be two-paced and the batters will score a hundred?” Akram added.

The former Pakistan captain, in all probability, made the comments in jest but the undertone of a banter was not missing.

To be fair to Manjrekar, even Ravi Shastri, in his pitch report, made a similar sort of assessment of the pitch having enough for both the seamers and spinners and because of the damp weather, it may be a bit undercooked too.

Early signs of Pallekele pitch being two-paced

Manjrekar and Shastri’s points were proved as early as the second over of the match. Pakistan pacer Naseem Shah got one to bounce just outside the off stump in the first delivery of his spell. India captain Rohit Sharma dealt with it without any difficulty but the next ball surprised him. It kept low from the same area and reached Pakistan keeper Mohammad Rizwan on the bounce.

Manjrekar, for his part, had his own moment of roasting Akram. When the latter said there were only blue shirts (Indian supporters) in the stands, Manjrekar said: “Costly tickets maybe”.

Despite the rain forecasts, Rohit had no hesitation to bat first after winning the toss in this Group A match. India decided to strengthen their lower-order batting by picking Shardul Thakur over genuine fast bowler Mohammed Shami. As expected, Ishan Kishan was picked as the keeper-batter and he is slated to bat in the middle-order.

Pakistan, on the other hand, fielded the same XI that registered a thumping win against Nepal in the Asia Cup opener.

Pakistan XI: Babar Azam (captain), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Salman Agha, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi.

India XI: Rohit Sharma (captain), Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumraj, Mohammed Siraj and Kuldeep Yadav. vs

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