Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed lamented his side’s performance in the field after England claimed an unassailable 3-0 lead in their five-match ODI series on Friday.
After failing to defend a target of 359 in the third ODI, Sarfraz and his team disappointed again by suffering a three-wicket defeat in the fourth match at Trent Bridge after posting a first innings score of 340/7.
“Tough luck, we put runs on the board but our bowling and fielding was not up to the mark,” the 31-year-old said.
Sarfraz was particularly critical of the fielding with centurion and match-winner Jason Roy dropped by Fakhar Zaman off Imad Wasim while on 27.
Their failure to defend huge scores back-to-back is a real concern with this summer’s World Cup kicking off on May 30.
“If we took catches and executed better, that was the difference. We have been working hard, but the way we are fielding is not up to the mark, with the World Cup coming.”
The wicketkeeper-batsman also rued the quality of the bowling in the death overs when they needed to restrict the hosts only for Ben Stokes to finish things off with an unbeaten 71 off 64 deliveries.
“We missed yorkers, Mohammad Hasnain only playing his fourth match so they will learn.”
Pakistan have a couple of injury concerns heading into the fifth and final ODI on Sunday.
In-form opener Imam-ul-Haq retired hurt on just 3 after a Mark Wood delivery in the fourth over struck him on the his left elbow. Meanwhile, Mohammad Amir has reportedly come down with chicken pox but has been named in the World Cup squad.
“Imam will hopefully be okay [for Sunday], a bruise on the elbow, but I’m not sure about Amir,” Sarfraz revealed.
New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Latham could miss his team’s World Cup opener against Sri Lanka at Cardiff on June 1 due to a finger fracture he sustained last week.
Latham was injured during his team’s warm-up game against Australia in Brisbane.
The wicketkeeper was cleared to travel to the World Cup along with the rest of the squad and the injury is healing well, according to stuff.co.nz. But he could miss their warm-up games and opener.
Tom Blundell will stand guard behind the stumps if Latham becomes unavailable for their game against New Zealand. He could hence become the first New Zealander since 1987 to debut in an ODI game at the World Cup.
Tim Seifert – who is recovering from a finger injury himself – and test wicketkeeper BJ Watling did not travel with the squad on Sunday.
New Zealand chief selector Gavin Larsen told Trackside Radio confirmed that the medical staff will take a call on Latham’s availability.
“Whether he [Latham] takes his place in those warm-up games we’ll take a day-by-day approach on that, which will be down to the medical guys and Gary [Stead] and support staff when they’re over there,” Larsen told Trackside Radio, as quoted by Cricbuzz.
“They’re both ready; Tim has come off the back of his finger injury, that’s OK, and BJ has been going well. We’ve got the different skill sets covered.”
Windies star Chris Gayle expressed his delight at being provided the opportunity to represent his nation for the fifth World Cup in a row.
The southpaw confessed that he had considered retirement a couple of years ago but the support of the fans drove him to play on.
“Honestly [I do it for] the fans, I am not going to lie. Maybe a couple of years ago the thought did cross [that I have had enough],” he said to Press Trust of India.
“Then the fans came out and said ‘don’t go’. They actually drive me to go on. I know nothing lasts forever and hopefully, I can give them a few more games and it also pushes you to win the World Cup.
“Never really considered thinking about it but time does fly quickly,” Gayle said.
“I could never dream of playing so many World Cups but it has happened. It shows consistency in the career.
“That keeps you going and earn a lot of praise. Hard work in the last couple of has years paid off. People want to see you more and you are trying to deliver as much as possible.
“We have seen changes [in the cricket board] in the last couple of months,” he said.
After several players were involved in the altercations with the board, things have steadied down in the past few months and Gayle is hopeful of a positive rebuilding phase.
“Hopefully, the new team gets it right, gets the structure in place. Cricket is the most important thing for the Caribbean. Hope they take the game to where it is supposed to be.
“It will take time, of course. Lot of things need to be rebuilt. On the field, we had a good series against England, now the World Cup is coming up and that is another opportunity for us to turn things around.”