London: “Beware of Pakistan team” is the warning that the Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmad has for all their opponents in the ICC Cricket World Cup as his team takes on West Indies in the first match of the World Cup at Nottingham’s Trent Bridge ground tomorrow.
The Pakistan skipper seemed comfortable with the “unpredictable” tag his team carries. “I think it’s good to be unpredictable. That way all teams will be wary of us. Pakistan is very dangerous. So it’s good to be known as the World Cup’s most unpredictable team,” said Sarfraz.
Sarfraz has lifted the Champions Trophy in 2017 and hence is well aware of how to win in England. He went on to reveal his philosophy on how to play and win.
“I believe we must not think about the result. We didn’t play well as a team in the past since we were always concerned about the result,” he said. “What matters to me is that our batsmen are performing well — so we don’t have to worry about it. We are focused and we are very hopeful as a team that we will do well in this World Cup.”
Would the skipper reveal his plans on how they hope to win the match? His reply was quick, like his stumping as a wicketkeeper. “Contain the teams that we are playing against from piling up a big score,” he said. “You’ve got to take wickets, but if you are unable to do that then you must stop giving away runs.”
Opponents do not matter for Sarfraz as long as his bowlers take wickets. “Whether we play England, West Indies or Australia, we must take wickets to stop them,” he added. “Only then will it be possible to check the run flow as well.”
Sarfraz was lauded in Pakistan for his traditional ‘shalwar kameez’ that he wore for the meeting with the Queen on Wednesday. He was clad in a crisp white shalwar kameez and a dark green blazer.
Pace spearhead Mohammad Amir is fit and available for selection for Pakistan, Sarfraz confirmed.
There was speculation that the 27-year-old, who missed the last four matches of the One Day International series against England earlier this month, might not be able to make his World Cup debut at Trent Bridge.
“Amir is fully fit and available for selection for tomorrow’s game,” Sarfraz said.
Sarfraz said he hoped the team could put behind them a streak of 10 straight ODI defeats.
“Yes, we have lost 10 matches but we have to forget that and start the World Cup journey,” he said.
The Pakistan skipper also expects a high-scoring tournament. Top-ranked England have scored 400-plus twice at this ground, 444-3 against Pakistan in 2016 and a world record of 481-6 against Australia last year. “Cricket has changed,” Sarfraz observed. “People used to think that 300 was a par score but it has changed. We will have different pitches in the World Cup so if a team scores 300-plus then the other team will also go for that,” he said.
Catch the match: Pakistan v West Indies
Trent Bridge, Nottingham
1.30pm UAE time
Match broadcast on OSN Network