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2019 World Cup Final Analysis

Pakistan team needs to match fielding standards of other sides, says Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram insisted Pakistan desperately required vast improvement in their fielding in order to compete with the top teams in the world.

Speaking to Cricingif in the aftermath of England's dramatic World Cup final win over New Zealand at Lord's, Wasim said the one key takeaway for Pakistan from this tournament would be the need for elevating their fielding standards.

"Apart from batting and bowling skills, we've seen teams boasting superior fielding skills make it to the semi-finals.

"Improvement in fielding demands high levels of physical fitness, especially in one-day internationals since there is no room for hiding the lapses."

"Pakistan will need to learn to be physically fit and match the high standards of fielding set by other teams. If India and Bangladesh can do it, so can Pakistan," Wasim said.

Pakistan suffered a first-round exit in the World Cup despite having equal points with runners-up New Zealand at the end of the group stage since they possessed a much inferior net run-rate.

While Sarfaraz Ahmed's side did witness a surge in momentum towards the latter half of the tournament, their fielding and the colossal number of drops was a constant source of disappointment for fans.

'Stokes is very mentally and physically strong'

Wasim, often dubbed as the 'Sultan of Swing', reserved special praise for England's World Cup final hero Ben Stokes as he waxed lyrical about his splendid contribution in the memorable win.

He termed the all-rounder a mentally tough individual who has fought back demons of his past to emerge as England's most valuable player in the all-important final.

"What a cricketer he [Ben Stokes] has been for England. The way he has made a comeback to international cricket is remarkable.

"He was struck for four sixes in the World T20 final by Carlos Brathwaite and was then embroiled in personal incidents since he was banned for a while last year.

That shows how mentally and physically strong the guy is and he is such a treat to watch," Wasim added.

Wasim also empathized with New Zealand, who were hard done by some unfortunate moments in the field including a contentious overthrow in the final over of the match that saw England being awarded six runs.

He alluded to this being part and parcel of the game and lauded the leadership of Black Caps captain Kane Williamson.

"Luck did not favour New Zealand. If the ball had not deflected off Ben Stokes' bat and run to the boundary, they might have won the match.

"It just wasn't meant to be for New Zealand but they fought well and bowled with a lot of heart.

Williamson has been the best captain in this World Cup. He is a genuine hard worker and very soft-spoken."

"I agree with the decision to award the player of the tournament as he scored a lot of runs and led his team to the finals. He is a low-key skipper who focuses more on action than words," Wasim elaborated.

'This was one of the best World Cups ever'

Wasim, part of the 1992 World Cup-winning team, declared this year's edition as one of the greatest World Cups he has ever witnessed.

He extolled the quality of cricket on display during the course of the tournament, pointing out the innovation brought about in batting and bowling in the modern era.

"The skill level has progressed tremendously in shots and deliveries as compared to previous World Cups."

He was also impressed with the bowling-friendly pitches in the majority of the competition, which allowed an even contest between bat and ball.

"We saw fast bowlers dictating the proceedings as opposed to what people were predicting before the tournament.

"This is the beauty of playing in England. The World Cup would have been boring if there were dead pitches involving high-scoring run-fests.

"These pitches tested the skills of bowlers and batsmen."

#CWC19#Pakistan#India#Bangladesh#England#New Zealand