Pakistan has always been the dark horse of the cricket. On their day, they can beat anyone in World Cricket. In the past, they have caused big surprises by hitting teams that looked better on paper than they did. The best example of this is the final of the Champions Trophy 2017, in which they defeated the title favorites India. However, it is the lack of consistency that keeps turning it off.
The 2019 World Cup will be held in England and Wales. England has always been a happy hunting ground for Pakistan and has enjoyed great success in multilateral tournaments held there.
The current Pakistani team has many match winners in their line-up and can take the trophy completely on July 14th. In this article, we explain why Pakistan are the favorites of the 2019 World Cup.
New And Yong Players
Pakistan owns some of the world’s most talented young players cricket. With the bat, they have the firm Imam ul Haq at the top. Imam has been doing very well lately with the racket. He is joined by the exciting Fakhar Zaman, who beat a brilliant double hundred against Zimbabwe last year in ODIs. Zaman is able to give the team quick starts at the top.
Then there is the ever-reliable Babar Azam, who leads the team home in position 3. With the ball, the rise of Shaheen Shah Afridi as a real wicket threat has given the Pakistani pace attack more teeth. Shaheen Afridi was very impressive in the tests against South Africa in the tests and has continued his good form in the limited leg of the tour.
Add to the wrist of Shadab Khan and you have a complete bowling attack. Shadab is also very handy if the bat complies with the order.
Experience Middle Order
Pakistan has a very experienced middle order in the form of Mohammed Hafeez, Shoaib Malik and Sarfraz Ahmed. The trio has more than 580 one-day internationals. Malik has been in great shape lately and plays a key role in the Pakistani hitting team. Hafeez has done a lot more these days.
If necessary, the duo can increase the stakes and play the waiting game perfectly. And not only that, both can perform quite handy rotary joy. Malik is also an enrichment in this area. Captain Sarfraz is a busy player and keeps the scorecard in motion. Sarfraz is excellent against spin and plays the sweep shot very well.
Successful one-day teams like England and India rely on their spinners to bring the wickets to the middle of the world. While Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali play this role in England, India has two world-class spinners in Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. Pakistan also has practical spin options in the form of Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim.
Wasim plays T20 leagues around the world and has a handful of bowling experience in crisis situations. He does the extensive work to perfection and has a staggering economy of less than 5 passes in ODIs.
Shadab Khan, on the other hand, is an option that goes to the wicket and can bring you much-needed breakthroughs in the medium overvoltages. He has a very well camouflaged Googly up his sleeve and can outsmart the batsmen with his variations. Pakistan also has some handy part-time spinners in Hafeez and Malik.
Modern cricket is played at a great pace, and cricketers need to be fit to compete against the best. Fielding is a very important part of the game these days. Gone are the days when Pakistan had some lazy outfield players who roamed the field giving away light runs.
Under the new coach Mickey Arthur, fitness was given top priority. Players who could not pass the fitness tests were spared, and those who did not fare well were marginalized and pushed out of the page, as white-ball cricket requires a high level of fitness and fielding standards ,
Arthur brought with him Steve Rixon as fielding coach, and the move paid off as the Pakistani fielding teams showed a significant improvement. Pakistan has some field shooters in Babar Azam, Shadab Khan and Hasan Ali who move like a pack of wolves in the 30-yard circle.
Good Record In England
Pakistani teams have always performed well in England. Be it the 1999 World Cup or the 2017 Champions League Trophy, Pakistan has made a name for itself in multilateral tournaments in England. Pakistani pacemen can take advantage of the helpful conditions offered in England and they can prove to be a threat to the opposing batsmen.
During the 1999 World Cup, it was Wasim Akram’s and Shoaib Akhtar’s tempo attack that helped Pakistan reach the final. In 2017, Hasan Ali topped the wicket charts for Pakistan. Pakistan also has a fast-paced attack this time to fully reach the 2019 World Cup.
The games of Pakistan were always well attended in England thanks to a large number of Pakistani diasporas. Such overwhelming support can help players reach their limits in crisis situations.