Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur has stated that the team management and selectors will be considering the performances of players in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) before making a final call on the 2019 ICC World Cup.
Less than four months remain for the global showpiece to get underway in England and all eyes will be on the composition of the Pakistan squad to be led by Sarfraz Ahmed.
Speaking to reporters upon the team’s return to Lahore from South Africa on Friday, Arthur stressed that the upcoming edition of the PSL and Pakistan’s ODI series against Australia will play a key part in finalising the 15-man squad for the World Cup.
“Inzi (Inzamam-ul-Haq) and I have been on the same page for a long while here. And I’m going to be honest because I’ve told the boys in the dressing room the same thing the other night,” Arthur was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
“I think we’ve got probably 19 players for 15 positions. PSL always throws up one or two good individual performers, so we are going to have a look at some of our borderline players, the guys that we are not sure about.
“We have to look at them during the Australian series and then we will make our minds up leading into England, obviously we will be taking 15 there. The key is players get clarity in terms of their roles and role clarity is particularly important.”
Pakistan are due to take on Australia in a five-match ODI series in the UAE upon the completion of the PSL. Following the clashes against the Aussies, Pakistan will depart to England where they will take on the hosts in a five-match ODI series before getting their World Cup campaign underway.
Arthur believes having two viable game plans will be key for Pakistan’s chances in the World Cup.
“I’m saying two game plans because the weather in England at any given time is very unpredictable, so we need an option where we have our spinners, who are able to suffocate through the middle overs because the key for us to win one-day games is about taking wickets through that middle period,” the South African explained.
“Either we do that with two spinners or little bit of reverse-swing if the weather stays dry, or if the weather is wet over that period of time there we have to have an option of a seam-bowling all-rounder who can come in and bat at No7 for us. So we’re very close, we’ve covered all our bases in terms of our personnel at the moment,” he added.
Pakistan are due to open their World Cup campaign against the West Indies at Trent Bridge on May 31.
Tamim’s sensational innings helped the Victorians post a daunting 199-3 in their 20 overs before their bowlers restricted Dhaka Dynamites to 182-9 to seal a 17-run victory.
The Bangladesh stalwart’s maiden BPL ton contained 10 boundaries and a staggering 11 sixes with the southpaw single-handedly leading Victorians’ charge with the bat.
The opening batsman saw his partner Evin Lewis dismissed early but then took charge of the Victorians innings with some explosive hitting in the death overs. 10 of his 11 sixes on the day came off the last 33 deliveries he faced with Rubel Hossain and Shakib Al Hasan being carted for plenty of runs in their eight overs.
While Ruben conceded 48 runs from his four overs, Shakib was taken for 45. Only Sunil Narine was able to maintain some sense of calm in the eye of the Tamim-storm with the West Indies spinner finishing with figures of 0-18 from his four overs.
In response, the Dynamites lost Narine to a run out off just the second delivery of the innings before Upul Tharanga and Rony Talkukdar put on a 102-run stand for the second wicket.
Tharanga collected 48 runs from 27 balls while Talukdar smashed 66 off 38 as the hosts crossed the 100-run mark inside just nine overs in the chase.
However, once the two set batsmen were dismissed, the Dynamites’ innings fell away with Wahab Riaz striking with three quick-fire middle-order wickets. The Pakistan pacer dismissed Shakib, Kieron Pollard and Nurul Hasan in a terrific burst which saw the hosts reduced to 173-8.
There was no coming back for the Dynamites from that point as the franchise fell to their second BPL final loss in a row.
Comilla Victorians: 199-3 (20 overs)
Tamim Iqbal: 141 not out (61)
Dhaka Dynamites: 182-9 (20 overs)
Rony Talukdar: 66 (38)
Wahab Riaz: 3-28 (four overs)
Having bowled out for the England Lions for 340 runs in their first innings, India A had reached a commanding 219-1 when stumps were drawn on Friday.
It was a day which belonged to India A’s batsmen with Rahul and Priyank Kirit Panchal putting on an unbeaten 171-run stand for the second wicket. Rahul was batting on 88 while Panchal was unbeaten on 89 at the close of play on day two.
Having reduced the Lions to 303-5 on day one, the hosts did not take too long to wrap up the innings on the second day with seamer Navdeep Saini finishing with a five-wicket haul.
In response, India A only lost the one wicket on the day with opener Abhimanyu Easwaran falling for 31 to Lions’ medium pacer Zak Chappell.
It was a welcome return to form for KL Rahul who has struggled in international cricket of late. After a disappointing display in India’s recent tour of Australia, the top-order batsman had been indefinitely suspended by the BCCI along with Hardik Pandya for their controversial comments on a television show.
The bans on the duo were lifted provisionally by the governing body recently, making the two players available for selections once again. While Pandya was immediately flown to New Zealand to join up with India’s limited-overs squad, Rahul had to contend with a spot in the India A team for their ongoing series against England Lions.
In the one-day series between the two sides prior to the unofficial two-match Test series , Rahul had failed to fire with the bat with just 55 runs to show from three innings.
On Friday, Rahul collected 11 boundaries in his 182-ball vigil at the crease and will look to get to the three-figure mark when play resumes on day three.
England Lions: 340 all out (first innings)
Ben Duckett: 80 (118)
Navdeep Saini: 5-79
India A: 219-1 (first innings)
KL Rahul: 88 not out (182)
Priyank Kirit Panchal: 89 not out (141)