ISLAMABAD -  Former Test cricketer Basit Ali tipped India as favourites against Pakistan in the Champions Trophy opening encounter between the arch-rivals.

Talking to The Nation, Basit Ali said: “Being a Pakistani, I would love to see green caps defeat India, but the ground reality is different. Pakistan team doesn’t have any game plan especially when they are facing India, while on the other hand, the Indians enter the match with complete home work, and they know strengths and weaknesses of green caps.”

Basit, who is one of the most successful domestic coaches of Pakistan, said: “Indians are very much beatable, yes they had world’s best batting attack, but these players also had weaknesses and India had lost number of matches, Pakistan team management had to enter the match with clear-cut game plan, they must know the minus and pluses of the opponents, batting is as we all know Indian’s strength and main weapon, Pakistan must have some heart and invite India to bat first, as rain forecast is predicted, I strongly believe Pakistan should won the toss and chase down the target.

He said: “In 1990s, we are invisibles against India and we used to enter the match against them just aiming for victory. Wasim and Waqar used to have clear game plan, while all the players used to play active part to help the team score win. We never had lust of money, but now, money has taken over the emotions and feelings of the generation next, who only want to play for becoming overnight super stars and money is their main target.”

The former cricketer said England pitches traditionally supported medium pacers, but this time, the situation was different. “England has prepared batting pitches and I feel only genuine pacers and super quality spinners are bound to excel. The medium pacers will struggle to get favourable results while the batsmen will benefit more than the bowlers, as there are hardly any genuine quick express bowlers, who can rattle the opposition.

“It is the coach’s job to get the best out of batsmen and must inform them about game plan and how to rotate strike. Our batsmen have clear ideas in their minds and they just go and start playing. The players don’t pay heed to Grant Flower’s tips and get benefit from them,” he added.

Negating Sarfraz Ahmed’s statement, Basit said: “I don’t agree with Sarfraz’ statement that at number 8, we don’t have anything to lose. My question is who is responsible for taking Pakistan team to such lows, now even Bangladesh is above in the ICC ODI rankings, which is a really worry for the team. Pakistan team needs a coach like Inzamam, who can steer the team out of crises.”

“Our players copy Virat Kholi hair style, but they forget you need brain to copy someone. Instead of copying other players, our players must focus on becoming a player like them. On papers, India is too strong, but ground reality is different, as if Pakistan team manages to enter the match with a proper game plan, use its strength to the best of their abilities, they are capable of beating not only Indians but also to any given opponent,” Basit concluded.