ISLAMABAD - Former chief selector Iqbal Qasim lauded M Aamir and Hasan Ali for their outstanding performances, which enabled Pakistan to win coveted trophy for the very first time.

Talking to The Nation, the former Test cricketer said: “It was really a fantastic victory and credit goes to the PCB, chief selector, team management, coaching staff, captain and entire team. The matter of the fact is that the Indians took Pakistan too lightly and never considered them serious challengers, which cost them dearly. Even after conceding massive 338 runs, Kohli and others looked relaxed, like they had to chase only 200 runs.”

Qasim said credit must be given to Pakistan team, which played out of their skins. “It was free, fluent, explosive and fearless cricket on offer. Pakistan simply blew away all the opponents and then in the mother of all finals, they outclassed the arch-rivals. After winning the toss, Kohli went after our weak link, but the way Fakhar Zaman and Azhar Ali started the innings, it was a perfect day for Pakistan cricket. After long time, I had witnessed Pakistani openers showing such complete authority and playing without any fear. Fakhar helped Azhar Ali a great deal in restoring his confidence, who also played splendid cricket.”

He said the way Aamir started the proceedings, it was that touch which was missing long. “Like me, everybody wanted Aamir to produce wicket-taking magical spells, who he did this time and simply tore apart mighty Indian batting with his supreme magic spell. Despite a charm life given to Kohli by Azhar through a dolly catch, it didn’t cost Pakistan as on a very next delivery, Aamir once again stunned Kohli through his awesome bowling which broke the backbone of Indian batting.

“One thing all must appreciate that it was nothing in the pitch, which was completely dried up and nothing for fast bowlers, but the way Aamir, Hasan Ali and Junaid Khan bent their backs and produced extra special deliveries, it bamboozled Indian batting line. The young guns in Pakistani line up proved their worth and I must also say Hasan Ali is not only the find of the tournament, but he also has a bright future ahead,” he added.

“I must also appreciate young Shadab Khan, who proved his worth, as the way he forced Sarfraz to take review of Youvraj was speaking volumes about his confidence levels as I don’t think even a senior player could have argued with captain and literally forced him to pay heed to his request. “Fakhar is pride of Pakistan, although he is a bit emotional, yet at this age and at such huge platform, one can expect these minor emotions. He is bound to earn a lot of respect and titles for Pakistan in the years to come,” he maintained.

The former cricketer said Pakistan played perfect cricket and outclassed Indians in all departments. “Sarfraz’ captaincy was at its level best. After being hammered and thrashed in the first group match by same opponents, the way he and team management lifted the morale of the players and the way they bounced back and completely turned around fortunes was amazing and as a Pakistani and former player, I can feel the importance of that victory, which means a lot for long-suffering Pakistani fans.

“The ICC and international teams are reluctant to tour Pakistan sighting so-called security reasons. Pakistan is as safe as any other country and Pakistanis love and give too much respect to all. The international sporting stars must come and see how passionate and loving Pakistani fans are. The ICC must reconsider and allow Pakistanis same freedom which others are enjoying,” Qasim concluded.