Sarfraz says players completely fit & prepare for World Cup
LAHORE (92 News) – Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed said on Monday that all the team players are completely fit and prepared for the upcoming Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2019.
It is worth mentioning here that Pakistan will play three warm-up matches before taking on joint-hosts England in a five-match one-day series and a Twenty20.
Addressing a joint press conference at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium with Head coach Mickey Arthur, on the eve of the team’s departure to England for a bilateral ODI series and T20I, Pakistani skipper said that being underdogs in next month’s World Cup eases the pressure on his young team.
Sarfraz Ahmed termed that all the players, who were selected in the squad for CWC, are in form and will show their performance 100 per cent in the world cup. He said the team will give its best and play quality cricket during the World Cup.
“We are heading to England with complete preparations and dedication to win the CWC. Our players are ready to play their best cricket,” the skipper said.
Asked about Pakistan’s opening options, Sarfaraz said Fakhar Zaman and Imamul Haq would be preferred as openers, while the newly selected Abid Ali could be a good choice for No 3. “Both Fakhar Zaman and Imamul Haq are in good form,” he said.
On the occasion, Mickey Arthur stressed that Pakistan team is fully prepared for the upcoming ICC CWC in England and Wales, and expressed faith in the players’ ability to win the trophy, adding that the players will have to give it their all.
“We have worked really hard over the past two years. We are as prepared as we can be. We have to bring all our capabilities to produce results in our favour,” the coach said.
On Yasir Shah’s call-up as a replacement for Shadab Khan, Arthur said it was a like for like replacement. “Shadab Khan is a wonderful cricketer. As the buzz word nowadays goes, he’s ‘three-dimensional’. He plays a key role for us just outside the power play.”
“However, we have tried to cover [for him] with another wrist spinner Yasir Shah. We are replacing him [Shadab] with like for like. Yasir is under no illusion that he has to challenge both the outside and inside edge of the bat,” Arthur added.
Appreciating Babar Azam, the head coach said expectations are high from the batsman. “Our expectations are high from Babar Azam as he’s our best batsman in squad. He is so talented, he is a batsman who [can] get the required scores.”
“Mohammad Hafeez will be available for us during the World Cup as an off spinner too. We have faith in our team. All 15 of those players have the ability to win games,” the coach said.
Yasir Shah named as Shadab Khan’s replacement for England series
Earlier on Sunday, Yasir Shah has been named as Shadab Khan’s replacement for the upcoming T20I and ODI series against England, which will be played from May 5-19, the Pakistan Cricket Board said in a press release.
Earlier, wrist spinner Shadab Khan – who was termed by PM Imran Khan as Pakistan’s trump card for the England tour – has been ruled out of the series against England after tests revealed a virus that will require treatment and rest for, at least, four weeks.
The bowler has Hepatitis C and will not be able to participate. This was confirmed by Chief Selector Inzamamul Haq while addressing a press conference on Sunday.
He also said blood reports of the cricketer were not satisfactory and that the player has been excluded from the squad selected for the five-match ODI series.