Pakistan captain, Sarfraz Ahmed is happy that Pakistan are not heading into the World Cup as favourites, rather his team is being labelled as the underdogs in the tournament. However, the skipper is happy with the pool of players he has and assured that whatever the outcome will be, the team will give their best during the tournament.
Recently, Pakistan suffered a thumping 5-0 defeat in the ODI series against Australia in the UAE. The management rested six of their frontline ODI players for the important series, which raised many eyebrows. Moreover, there were concerns that the clean sweep against the reigning champions may impact players’ confidence ahead of the World Cup, however, the skipper thinks otherwise.
“We have got ample time before the World Cup, the players who were dropped are an automatic selection for the cricketing event,” he said. “We are looking to get the right team combination during our five-match series against England in England.”
The England series will be essential for Pakistan’s preparation for the World Cup as the multi-nation cricketing event is scheduled to play in England and Wales from May 30 to July 17. Furthermore, the Men in Green have enjoyed a fair bit of success in the English conditions from 2016 to 2018, which includes their Champions Trophy triumph in 2017.
“We will definitely benefit from the time we will spend in England, we are going almost a month ahead of the World Cup,” said the captain. “We have been playing in England regularly for the past three years, in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and now we are going there again. Our players will get used to of the conditions and it will give us an advantage.”
The Champions Trophy-winning captain, who rested during the forgettable Australia series, identified the reason behind Pakistan’s struggle as lack of wickets with the new ball. He is happy with the way Pakistan’s batting performed during the five-match campaign, but it was their bowling that let them down.
“We have to strike with the new ball, if we do not strike early in the inning, it does not matter how much we score, it will not be a safe total,” Sarfraz Ahmed said. “We have a history of striking with the new ball, whether you see T20Is or Champions Trophy. You cannot put the opposition on backfoot without taking early wickets.”
World Cup 2019 has the same format of World Cup 1992, where every team will take on all the other sides of the tournament at the group stage. The skipper believes that it is a tough format and all the teams have to on their A game throughout the campaign. No matter how good you have been playing at the group stage, one bad game can end their campaign.
The most anticipated game of an around the 45-day long tournament will be played on June 16th at Old Trafford between the arch-rivals, Pakistan and India. It is a key game for both the teams and fans from both countries want their respective teams to win that particular contest.
“Fans would forgive any loss in the tournament, but they want us to win against India, it is the same situation at both sides of the border,” said Sarfraz. “As a captain, I would also want to win that game, but our focus will be on all the teams of the tournament, we will look to defeat India in the tournament and other teams sides as well.”