Shadab Khan insists Pakistan 'not a champion team' despite reaching Asia Cup 2022 final

Vice captain insists side far from finished article, while critics take aim at India after exit

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Vice-captain Shadab Khan says that Pakistan are “good but not a champion team” despite sealing their place in Sunday's Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka.

Pakistan were reliant on tail-ender Naseem Shah's two sixes at the death to secure a nerve-shredding one-wicket win in Sharjah on Wednesday.

Chasing 130 for victory, Pakistan were in desperate trouble after slipping to 118-9 before Naseem's big-hitting sealed victory with four balls to spare

“I think a good team should not suffer a collapse like this in pressure situations, especially I played a rash shot. I was well set and should have finished the match,” said Shadab, who was Pakistan's top scorer with 36 off 26 balls, an innings that included a four and three sixes.

“Like I said at the start of the tournament, we are a good team but not a champion team and that's what is our goal. Hopefully we will work on this and try not to repeat our mistakes.”

Shadab, who also returned figures of 1-27 with his leg-spin and was named man of the match, was grateful that teenager Naseem stood up when his team needed him.

“Our management has promoted our bowlers to bat a bit because you don't know what situation will come in a game. Our bowlers also have the calibre to finish games with the bat,” he said.

Naseem, 19, added: “When I came in to bat, I had the belief I could hit sixes. I practise this. I knew they would bowl yorkers. I just tried and I executed.”

The result knocked Afghanistan and pre-tournament favourites India out of the tournament. They play each other in a dead-rubber on Thursday in Dubai.

India, who won the previous Asia Cup in 2018 played in a 50-over format, lost their first two Super 4 matches to Pakistan by five wickets and Sri Lanka by six.

And the critics have been taking aim at Rohit Sharma's side following their failure to reach the final.

“I think there was too much chopping and changing done after just one defeat,” former India wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel told cricbuzz. “We lost against Pakistan and made three-four changes.”

“The consistency and the clarity of thought is so important, especially when you play this T20 format.

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“Dinesh Karthik came in and he was left [out]. Rishabh Pant came in and would be thinking whether I am a permanent member of the team or not.”

Former coach Ravi Shastri also criticised the team choices and was puzzled by the exclusion of veteran pace bowler Mohammed Shami.

“I am completely amazed to see how Mohammed Shami has been sidelined by the current Indian team management and the selectors,” Shastri said on Star Sports.

Injuries to pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel made India turn to Avesh Khan, who fell sick in Dubai and was unavailable for selection in the last two matches.

“The Indian bowling hasn't looked that effective in this year's Asia Cup,” added Shastri. “And a veteran like Shami should have certainly made it to the squad.”

India remain top of the T20 team rankings but have constantly faltered at global international tournaments, with their last International Cricket Council title coming at the 2013 Champions Trophy.

They failed to make the semi-finals of last year's T20 World Cup in the UAE and in 2019 lost in the semi-finals of the 50-over World Cup in England.

Updated: September 08, 2022, 9:47 AM