Pakistan cricket team holds the no. 1 position in the ICC world ranking before going to the mega event. Pakistan team had a couple of losses in their last two international matches which were in the Asia Cup against India and Sri Lanka. Pakistan had a tough schedule as they traveled to four cities in two countries in one-week time. This led Pakistani players to get extremely tired and exhausted as they had a busy cricketing schedule. Pakistani team is considered as one of the most dangerous teams who can change gears at any moment.
Going into Asia Cup Pakistan was the favorite team to win the tournament. Unfortunately for Pakistan, they got knocked out in the Super 4 round by defeats from India and Sri Lanka. On top of that few Pakistani players had some injuries as well. In the match against India Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah got injured, also Salman Agha got a ball hit on his face as well while playing a sweep shot against the match in India. Haris and Salman are fit and back in the squad for the World Cup. Unfortunately for Pakistan Naseem Shah didn’t recover from injury and he is out of the world cup. This is a big blow for Pakistan as Naseem Shah is one of the best bowlers in the world right now.
Other than the fitness problem a rumor was spreading in the air about a clash in the dressing room between Babar Azam and Shaheen Shah Afridi. Later both cricketers cleared that there is no truth in such a rumor. Just before the World Cup Shadab Khan is replaced by Shaheen Shah Afridi as the vice-captain of Pakistan national cricket team.
To win the World Cup Pakistan cannot be ruled out from the equation at any time. Australia, South Africa, and England have been a great form recently which makes them strong contenders to lift the World Cup trophy. India as the host nation is also a strong team, with Pakistan’s no. 1 team ranked in the world, the Green Shirts can be considered one of the favorites for the world cup.
Strengths of Pakistan Team
The Pakistani bowling attack has always been a threat to the opposition. Even in the absence of Naseem Shah Pakistan still has a very strong bowling line up with Shaheen and Rauf taking the lead in pace attack. Talking about Pakistani batting the captain of the national team Babar Azam is one of the best batters at the present time. In the last few years, he has been in great touch as well. Batters like Imam ul Haq and Mohammad Rizwan are a great source of runs for the team as well. Overall Pakistani team looks a great balanced side on paper.
Areas to Improve
In the recent Asia Cup Pakistani hard hitting opener Fakhar Zaman was out of nick. To win the big matches Zaman needs to click and play longer innings. His batting style can really hurt opposition from the word go.
Another area the Pakistani team needs to improve is fielding. In the recent Asia Cup Pakistan, the I team gave away some easy and crucial runs in fielding. They also dropped some easy catches which cost them the Asia Cup.
Pakistan squad looks like a balanced team on paper. If Pakistani teams play to their strength they can win the world cup. It’ll not be a surprise if Pakistan takes the trophy home. With the format of the World Cup where one team gets to play nine matches, this format will suit Pakistani playing style and mentality.
Remember this format was introduced in World Cup 1992, that World Cup was won by Pakistan under the leadership of Imran Khan.