Shami, Umesh on course to become world-class bowlers: Akhtar

samiNEW DELHI: Impressed by Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav’s “mature performance” in the ongoing cricket World Cup, former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar feels the duo are on the path to become “world-class” bowlers and have been the key to India’s success in the tournament.

The pace duo shared four wickets between themselves as India humbled Ireland by eight wickets in their previous league encounter to register nine consecutive World Cup wins and also confirm their top spot going into the quarter-finals.

India have also had the distinction of bowling their opponents out in all the five outings and Akhtar is all praise for the pace duo’s contribution.

“50 wickets in 5 matches is an incredible task. I am glad to see such matured performances from Shami and Umesh in all the matches and I believe its not long before they are regarded as world-class bowlers,” Akhtar, who is part of the Star Sports Hindi commentary panel, told PTI.

Shami, who picked three wickets in Hamilton to restrict the Irish side to 259 all out, has bagged 12 wickets from four matches in the tournament so far. Umesh, on the other hand, has bagged seven scalps from five games and has exuded confidence and pace in his bowling so far.

And Akhtar said it’s a treat to watch the duo bowl.

“It is truly a joy to watch them bowl so beautifully and enjoy their cricket,” the Rawalpindi Express said. Akhtar added that even though the Seddon Park wicket complimented the bowlers, the Indians did well to cut the Irish surge.

“The pitch complemented the playing conditions very well today. The ball was coming on to the bat nicely and it was a true test for the Indian bowlers against a very decent Irish side,” said Akhtar, who bagged 247 wickets for Pakistan in 163 ODIs.

Eventually, it was Shikhar Dhawan who stole the show with his batting as he recorded his second century of the tournament to help India chase down the target in just 36.5 overs.

Recently Shami had also credited Akhtar for bringing back rhythm into his bowling after the former Pakistan speedster advised him to shorten his run-up, which has helped him increase his pace.

“The recent change in run-up has surely increased my pace. So I am continuing with it and hoping that it pays rich dividends. I did have a chat with Shoaib (Akhtar) bhai and he suggested that I should reduce my big strides. So shortened my stride and it has worked. It (the new run-up) is smooth and comfortable and it has also increased my pace,” Shami had said.

The Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side leads the Pool B standings with 10 points, followed by South Africa, Pakistan and Ireland. The Men in Blue will face Zimbabwe on March 14.–PTI

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