Former Pakistani speedster Shoaib Akhtar has heaped praise on the Indian colts following their emphatic win over Pakistan in the semifinal of the ongoing ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup. (More Cricket News)
The Rawalpindi Express said that the Priyam Garg-led side was absolutely brilliant in their performance and that the future of Indian cricket is in safe hands.
India on Tuesday marched into the third consecutive World Cup final following a comprehensive 10-wicket win over Pakistan in the semi-final at the Senwes Park in Potchefstroom in South Africa.
After Sushant Mishra, Kartik Tyagi and Ravi Bishnoi shared the spoils to bowl out Pakistan for 172; Yashasvi Jaiswal and Divyaansh Saxena starred with the bat as India crossed the finish line with 14.4 overs to spare.
Akhtar was particularly critical of Pakistan's fielding efforts and said that the team did not deserve to go to the finals of the prestigious tournament.
"Congratulations to the Pakistan U19 team for reaching the semis. It was a good effort but not good enough to take you to the finals. It was a pathetic fielding performance by Pakistan. Despite being U19, can't you put in dives while fielding? They did not deserve to be in the finals but on the other end congratulations to India for winning the semis," Akhtar said in a video posted on his Youtube channel.
"They won it and won it comprehensively. Indian team deserves praise and they must be told that there are some players in your team who will surely represent India in the future. I am very happy to see that India's future is in the right hands," he added.
The former Pakistan speedster reserved rich praise for Jaiswal, who has battled all odds to make his way into the Indian set-up and is now one of the rising stars in the country.
"India's boy Jaiswal, he left his village to come to Mumbai and used to sleep in milk dairies. He has scored two centuries in U19 cricket. Jaiswal used to sell pani-puri in the morning. He sold pani puris to his teammates to have food on his plate.
"Imagine this kind of a guy, who will be street smart and will fight for his place. Rajasthan Royals bought Jaiswal and remember my words that Jaiswal is going to go places. He has the power, passion and interest for the game. He will represent the senior team, this is a guarantee. Saxena also played well.
"Pakistan players need to learn from Jaiswal's history. He is running behind excellence and money is running behind him now," the former Pakistan pacer added.
Akhtar also took a dig at Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), saying they have not managed to get the established Pakistan cricketers for coaching roles as the board is reluctant to shell money.
India will now face the winner of Bangladesh versus New Zealand in the final on Sunday.