Sunil Gavaskar though feels that Mohammad Hafeez's absence will hurt Misbah and company.
Notwithstanding Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq’s claim that tall pacer Mohammad Irfan could trouble India in their World Cup opener, former skipper Sunil Gavaskar feels that the 7 feet 1 inch-bowler should not pose a big threat to the Men in Blue here today.
“I am not too sure that it’s going to be too much of an issue (Having Irfan pose a challenge). India have been in Australia for a while. They have got used to the pace and bounce of the pitches and therefore I don’t think it’s going to be too much of an issue,” Gavaskar told NDTV.
“Also I think there is a fitness aspect about Irfan. If he goes flat out fast, he tends to pull up something or the other because of the fact that he is unusually tall that can happen. And so Misbah might be right in thinking that he is his number one bowler.
“He is simply the number one bowler, because there is no Junaid Khan, there is no Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal’s missing, so quite clearly, Mohammad Irfan who actually came into international cricket barely a year ago becomes Pakistan’s number one strike bowler. But I think the Indians will be able to handle him,” he added.
Gavaskar though feels that Mohammad Hafeez’s absence will hurt Misbah and company.
“Mohammad Hafeez I feel is going to be a huge impact (his absence). Hafeez has got a good record of opening the batting or batting at number three for Pakistan. He has got hundreds against his name, so as a batsman, who can also bowl off-spinners with a very good economy rate, has a knack of breaking partnerships, picks wickets, it’s going to be a big blow as far is Pakistan is concerned,” said the former captain.
“If you look at Pakistan, it is an inexperienced line-up apart from say a Misbah and Younis and Afridi. So experience wise if you have someone like a Mohammed Hafeez who can steady the innings at the top of the order can come in handy,” he added.
On the eve of the high-voltage clash, Gavaskar advises the Indian team to bat first on winning the toss.
“India’s batting recently has just been a little iffy. Even in the warm-up games there were only a couple of guys who showed good touch, so I would think that it’s better in a situation like this to bat first and put the runs on the board so you are not having the pressure of an asking-rate,” he said.
The weather here is expected to rise above 40 degrees celsius and Gavaskar opines that even in that scenario it is better to field second.
“The weather is expected to be 42 degrees and if it is 42 then it will take a heavy toll of your energies when you are fielding first. So when you go into bat the extra thing that you need sometime in a touch-and-go game might just be missing simply because by the time you actually get to that the energy level has come down so I would rather have the Indian team to win the toss and bat first,” he said.