South African superstar AB de Villiers says no bowler on the current global stage is comparable to former Pakistan great Wasim Akram and that his swing skills are unparalleled. When asked before the Proteas’ second group clash against Pakistan at Edgbaston if there is anyone in the current Pakistan squad that matches Akram, de Villiers said no one in the world does.
De Villiers, on Monday, saw a clip featuring Wasim during the Australia-Bangladesh game coverage and tweeted: “Amazing footage on Skysports2! @wasimakramlive was one seriously talented bowler. Crazy skill!”
“I haven’t seen a bowler as good,” de Villiers said. “It was just nice to watch the programme, and I felt that I needed to just get it out there. I get along with him [Akram] well. He’s at Kolkata with the IPL every year, and we always have nice chats. And to actually get a bit of insight in the programme on how he used to bowl and what he was thinking while he was bowling is really nice. He has obviously shared all of that with a lot of players in the past, not only with Pakistan players but a lot of players at the IPL. But that’s something you’re born with. It’s a natural skill that he was born with.”
The 33-year-old also added that his team is “confident” and under “no pressure”. The last time both teams met in the global ICC event was the World Cup 2015, where Pakistan registered a 29-run victory in a rain-reduced encounter.
“We don’t feel any pressure. We are confident going into this game, without being arrogant or overconfident. We feel it’s an opportunity, once again in this tournament to shift the pressure onto all the opposition we might face.”
After having already earned a point courtesy a convincing 96-run win against Sri Lanka in their opening game of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, another point will ensure a semi-final spot for the Proteas who entered the multi-team event as one of the favorites.
Pakistan, on the other hand, will need a win to keep their chances of making it to the next round alive.