Navjot Singh Sidhu, Venkatesh Prasad and Anil Kumble all played instrumental roles in India’s memorable win over arch-rivals Pakistan in the second quarter-final of the 1996 ICC World Cup at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium. Prasad’s fiery send-off to Aamer Sohail turned out to be one of the most talked about moments in the rich cricketing history involving the two traditional rivals. In the same high-voltage, former all-rounder Ajay Jadeja played a crucial cameo of 45 off 25 balls against the Green Army.
Jadeja, who was a player when India defeated Pakistan, returned to the World Cup stage as a coach against the Green Army in 2023. Jadeja was roped in by Afghanistan as the team mentor for the 2023 edition of the World Cup hosted by India. Jadeja was a part of the same Afghanistan think tank that architected a stunning win for the giant killers against Pakistan. The spirited Afghanistan side recorded their first-ever win over Pakistan in One Day International (ODI) cricket at the 2023 World Cup.
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Can Jadeja coach Pakistan?
In a conversation with Sports Tak after the India World Cup, Jadeja was asked about taking up a coaching role in Pakistan. “I am ready,” joked Jadeja before comparing Afghanistan with the Pakistani side. “I shared my learnings with Afghans and I believe Pakistan were once like Afghanistan. You could say anything you wanted to in the face of your teammate,” Jadeja added.
Pakistan’s flop show at World Cup
Afghanistan recorded unforgettable wins over England and Pakistan in the India edition of the ODI World Cup. The Rashid Khan-starrer side recorded four wins in nine games at the World Cup. Despite losing to its Asian rivals, Pakistan managed to finish above Afghanistan in the World Cup 2023 standings. However, Babar Azam and Co. failed to enter the semi-final stage of the ICC event. Finishing fifth in the round-robin phase, Pakistan were 10 points behind table-toppers India at the World Cup.
What’s next for Pakistan?
After the World Cup debacle, premier batter Babar decided to quit as skipper and he was replaced by Shan Masood and Shaheen Shah Afridi. Batter Masood is leading the Test side in Australia while pacer Afridi was named Babar’s successor in T20Is. Seeking a fresh start in Australia after a flop show at the World Cup, Pakistan have appointed former all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez as the team director of the Green Army. Hafeez is also the head coach of the Pakistani side for the series in Australia and New Zealand.