KARACHI: New captain Sarfraz Ahmed will face his stiffest test but when he leads unfancied Pakistan within the Champion’s Trophy — beginning with a extremely-charged conflict towards India.
After qualifying by the pores and skin of their tooth, Pakistan might want to overcome critical batting deficiencies to be aggressive following their struggles within the one-day format in recent times.
Pakistan’s event in England begins with the hardest of video games towards arch-rivals India, the defending champions, in Birmingham on June four.
They want to halt a stoop that started with a primary-spherical exit from the 2015 World Cup, prompting all-rounder Shahid Afridi and skipper Misbah-ul-Haq to exit the one-day scene.
Test specialist Azhar Ali then led Pakistan to an embarrassing three-zero whitewash in Bangladesh and four-1 reverses to each England and Australia earlier than Sarfraz was handed the reins.
The wicketkeeper-batsman is credited with injecting new power after profitable three of his first 4 video games, two towards the West Indies and one towards lowly Zimbabwe.
However former captain Ramiz Raja believes the staff lacks the talent-set wanted to repeatedly beat prime sides in trendy restricted-overs cricket, which tilts closely in the direction of batting.
“They are saying a captain is nearly as good as his workforce and this aspect lacks energy-hitting expertise,” Raja advised AFP.
“Additionally to win he wants to seek out wickets with the brand new ball. He needs to be in charge of his feelings — he should have a versatile plan based mostly on self-discipline to create a profitable surroundings.”
Pakistan squeezed into the eight-group event courtesy of their clear-sweep towards minnows Zimbabwe in Might 2015, whereas additionally cashing in on England’s whitewashing of the West Indies.
However the animated Sarfraz, who was typically noticed screaming directions at his fielders in the course of the West Indies collection, warned that Pakistan can’t be counted out.
“It’s true we’re (ranked) quantity eight however we’re able to giving a troublesome time to our opponents,” Sarfraz advised AFP.
“We’ll overcome our weaknesses throughout our preparations in a camp in Birmingham and might be observed for our battle.”
Pakistan’s largest activity shall be matching the large-hitting of different groups.
Pakistan is “enjoying the type or model that belongs to the Nineteen Nineties when the sport has moved on, so we’d like an enormous raise in that space”, head coach Mickey Arthur stated.
For Raja, the issue lies within the variety of dot deliveries (balls from which the batting aspect doesn’t rating) that permits the run-fee to dry up.
“I might advocate Sarfraz to bat at 4 or 5 simply to shake issues up,” he stated.
Veteran Shoaib Malik and all-rounder Imad Wasim shall be required to offer impetus to the batting line-up.
However the staff is missing the providers of explosive opener Sharjeel Khan, who’s presently dealing with a tribunal for spot-fixing and will face a life ban if discovered responsible.
Enfant horrible Umar Akmal, the opposite batsman seen as able to persistently clearing the boundary, was kicked out of the squad and despatched house for failing two health tests.
The bowling division is in higher form. New boy Shadab Khan can spring a number of surprises together with his leg-spin in an assault led by Mohammad Amir, whose swing and accuracy was virtually again to its former greatest within the West Indies.
Pakistan have by no means gained the Champions Trophy however they reached the semi-finals in 2004 and 2009.
On each events they obtained the higher of India, their solely wins towards their bitter rivals in a multi-nationwide ICC occasion.
For Sarfraz, Pakistan’s opener towards India will set the tone for the remainder of their event.
“Everyone knows how vigorous these Pakistan-India matches are, so we’ll flip up absolutely motivated to have a profitable begin,” he stated.
Additionally they face South Africa, on June 7 in Birmingham, and Sri Lanka on June eleven in Cardiff. The highest two groups from every group will qualify for the semi-finals.
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