Pakistan’s Achilles’ Heel Against Leg-Spin in 2023 World Cup Defeat

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In a gripping clash between Pakistan and South Africa in the ongoing 2023 World Cup, leg-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi emerged as a formidable force against the Pakistani batters. The match, which took place in Chennai on October 27, saw Shamsi deliver a spellbinding performance, confirming Pakistan’s ongoing struggles against wrist-spin in the limited-overs format.

Shamsi’s mesmerizing display on the pitch resulted in figures of 4-60 in his allotted ten overs, leaving the Men in Green reeling at a score of 270. The Proteas, led by Temba Bavuma, successfully chased down the target with one wicket to spare, securing a crucial victory that placed them atop the World Cup points table.

Aakash Chopra, former Indian opener and cricket analyst, dissected the match in a video shared on his YouTube channel. He emphasized the long-standing issue of Pakistan’s vulnerability to leg-spin, stating, “It is confirmed that Pakistan cannot play leg-spin.” Chopra referred to legends like Shane Warne and Anil Kumble, who have exploited this weakness in the past. Furthermore, he listed contemporary wrist-spinners like Kuldeep Yadav, Adam Zampa, Noor Ahmad, Tabraiz Shamsi, Adil Rashid, and Ish Sodhi as bowlers who continue to pose a challenge for Pakistan.

Akash Chopra said

“It is confirmed that Pakistan cannot play leg-spin. Shane Warne used to get them out. Then Anil Kumble took 10 wickets in an innings.

“Don’t talk about this tournament at all – Kuldeep Yadav, Adam Zampa, Noor Ahmad, Tabraiz Shamsi, Adil Rashid and Ish Sodhi. The last two haven’t taken, but they will when they play.”

While Aakash Chopra praised South African bowlers Marco Jansen and Gerald Coetzee for their pivotal contributions, he also commented on the performance of Pakistan’s star player, Babar Azam. Chopra noted that despite scoring a half-century, Babar Azam has been somewhat inconsistent and hasn’t displayed the dominance expected of a player of his caliber. He also raised concerns about Babar’s captaincy.

“Marco Jansen – whichever match it is, he picks up two wickets for sure. He has taken two or more wickets in all matches he has played in this World Cup thus far, he took three wickets in this match. He does the job at the start for sure. Gerald Coetzee also did his job.”

Babar Azam, who contributed 50 runs to Pakistan’s total, was dismissed by Tabraiz Shamsi. The Pakistan Cricket Board’s recent appeals for support for Babar have been met with mixed reactions, with Chopra suggesting that the move could potentially backfire.

“Babar Azam did score a fifty but got out for 50. Babar hasn’t got that rhythm where you will say that he is a mighty batter.

“There is no doubt that he is a mighty batter, but we haven’t seen that batting thus far, and I have already spoken about his captaincy. From whichever angle you see, you will find that he is falling short.”

Pakistan, despite their struggles, put up a fighting total, thanks to significant contributions from Saud Shakeel and Shadab Khan. However, their efforts fell short as South Africa secured a hard-fought victory.

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