Islamabad: Former Pakistan Test cricketer Basit Ali has said he thinks that India will influence the International Cricket Council (ICC) to make a favourable spinning track at the Ahmedabad stadium, where it is scheduled to play its World Cup quarterfinal match against Australia on Thursday.
"Australia versus India will be a tight game, but I think India will influence the ICC to make a spinning track. If it is a batting wicket, I think Australia will win the match. If it`s a turning track, Indian will triumph over the Aussies," said Basit.
He also advised that India should play rookie Ravichandran Ashwin in the quarterfinals. "Ashwin is a much better bowler then Harbhajan [Singh], and the Indian team would be making a big mistake if they play Harbhajan ahead of Ashwin," he maintained.
With the possibility of a dream semifinal between India and Pakistan in the offing, Basit gave the final word on what to expect if their encounter was to become a reality. "If the semi-final is between Pakistan and India, Pakistan will have the advantage. The Mohali wicket has a bit of pace and bounce, and the Pakistani bowlers will definitely fancy their chances," he stated.
One man that has not featured prominently for Pakistan in the World Cup is spin wizard Saeed Ajmal, who has been overtaken by left-armer Abdul Rehman in the spin department, and has only played the one game so far- against Canada. Basit insisted that Ajmal needs to be given a spot in the Pakistan squad with immediate effect. "If Pakistan wants to win the World Cup, then they have to play Saeed Ajmal in place of Rehman. It is very critical for the Pakistan team to realize this," he stressed.
Basit also backed the team management``s decision of replacing fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar with left-arm speedster Wahab Riaz, and felt that he needs to be persisted with in the remaining World Cup matches. "Wahab is a good choice ahead of Shoaib. He is a better fielder, better bowler in death overs, can bowl some deadly yorkers, and is a decent bat as well down the order. We should continue to pick him ahead of Shoaib for the rest of the games," he said.