Ind vs Eng: UK-based former Pakistan pacer Masood backs India against 'over-rated' England

Aug 25, 2018, 03:58 IST | Clayton Murzello

Apart from watching both teams fight it out for the Pataudi Trophy, Masood, 72, would have seen it as an opportunity to meet Sunil Gavaskar, who is on commentary duty in England

Ind vs Eng: UK-based former Pakistan pacer Masood backs India against 'over-rated' England
England captain Joe Root (right) reacts after being dismissed by R Ashwin (left) in the first Test at Birmingham. Pic/Getty Images

Had an England v India Test match been held in Manchester this English summer, former Pakistan bowler Asif Masood would have probably made his way to Old Trafford. Apart from watching both teams fight it out for the Pataudi Trophy, Masood, 72, would have seen it as an opportunity to meet Sunil Gavaskar, who is on commentary duty in England.

Masood and Gavaskar haven't met since the 1975 World Cup. They played in the same Rest of the World side against Australia in 1971-72 when Bishan Singh Bedi and Farokh Engineer were the other Indians in the Rest team. Former Pakistan skippers Intikhab Alam and Zaheer Abbas were in the team as well in a series that coincided with the Indo-Pakistan war.

Asif Masood
Asif Masood

The late Tony Greig, in a documentary, marveled at how members of both countries used to gather around a radio set during the series to get updates on the war back home.

Masood has followed India's progress in the ongoing series and was impressed with the way the pacers knocked out England. "India should have won at Birmingham and they played very poorly at Lord's. But they came back showing great character in Trent Bridge. That lad (Jasprit) Bumrah is a good bowler," Masood told mid-day from Manchester. Even though only one side has come back to win a series in England after being two down, Masood felt India are capable of regaining the Pataudi Trophy.

"India are a fine side which is led well by Virat Kohli. What a player he is… the best batsman in the world. I love his intensity. England can be beaten. "There was an improvement in the Indian batting at Nottingham and with your bowlers doing a good job, England will find it difficult to win. I think England are an over-estimated side. Sure, Joe Root is a class act, but the rest of the batting can fall away.

"England have always been over-rated. I would include Umesh Yadav in the playing XI though," remarked Masood, who played nine of his 16 Tests against England. Masood claimed nine wickets in the Birmingham Test of 1971 but England were saved because of rain.

Imran Khan, Pakistan's new PM, who made his debut in that Test, wrote in All Round View: "I didn't get a single wicket. Asif Masood bowled beautifully, and only a day lost to rain prevented us from going one up in the series. Had he had any support from the other end, not even the weather could have saved England."

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