KARACHI: Former batting great Zaheer Abbas believed that appointment of Azhar Ali as Pakistan one-day captain will put him under pressure in the series against Bangladesh starting on Friday.
“Azhar was not inducted in Pakistan ODI team for the past two years and now suddenly he was named captain which is surprising,” he told APP in an interview on Thursday on the eve of the series.
He said like many experts and players, he was also surprised with the appointment of Azhar Ali as a captain.
Azhar Ali has replaced Misbah-ul-Haq as the captain after his retirement from ODI cricket after Pakistan’s quarter-final defeat to Australia in Adelaide on March 20.
“Captaincy of Pakistan team is not an easy job when you are not part of the ODI team for such a long period,” he said.
“Azhar has not only to lead the team. But he had to perform with the bat as well. This will be an easy task under circumstances for him,” Zaheer Abbas, the only Asian batsman with over 108 first class centuries to his credit, commented.
Zaheer Abbas however wished Azhar Ali good luck with his new assignment ahead.
Former Pakistan captain Zaheer said it will be big challenge for Azhar and his team to beat Bangladesh in their own backyard.
“It will be very tough series like Pakistan, Bangladesh also played in the quarter-final,” he said.
“Keeping in view the Bangladesh recent World Cup track record both teams are almost performed equally,” he maintained.
However, he said, any complacency could be deadly for Pakistan team against an much improve team.
He warned Pakistan team to beware of dangerous Bangladesh and their rising players.
Zaheer Abbas said Pakistan team should not take their defeat in the practice game lightly.
“It should be a big warning and eye opener for Azhar’s team,” he added.
He said any bad result against Bangladesh could be badly tarnished Pakistan team’s image.
“Young guns should prove themselves with outstanding performances to fill void of Misbah, Younis and Afridi,” he remarked.
Pakistan have lost only one ODI against Bangladesh when Wasim Akram’s team went down to them in 1999 World Cup in Northampton in controversial fashion.
Zaheer Abbas said Pakistan team cannot improve their games by playing against lowly ranked teams like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
“Pakistan should arrange series against big teams to take forward their cricket with an eye on the future,” he said.