Head coach Mickey Arthur on Monday said the Pakistan team is fully prepared for the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup in England and Wales, and expressed faith in the players’ ability to win the trophy.
Addressing a joint press conference at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium with skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed, on the eve of the team’s departure to England for a bilateral ODI series and T20I, Arthur stressed 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 [for the World Cup]. We have to bring [out] all our capabilities to produce results in our favour,” the coach said.
On Yasir Shah’s call-up as a replacement for Shadab Khan, who has been ruled out of the England series due to a virus-related illness, 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.
Praising Babar Azam, Arthur 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.
"Our strategy will be to attack, we're going to eye wickets. We have got all the bases covered."
Sarfaraz 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 [World Cup]. Our players are ready to play their best cricket,” said the captain.
Asked about Pakistan's opening options, Sarfaraz said Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq would be preferred as openers, while the newly selected Abid Ali could be a good choice for No. 3.
"Both Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq are in good form," he said, as he brushed aside concerns that both the batsmen are left-handed.