Having watched Aaron Finch and his men hand his Pakistan team a 5-0 whitewash in the ODI series held in the UAE, coach Mickey Arthur believes Australia are looking in great shape to defend their ICC World Cup crown.
The series defeat meant that it was only the fourth time in history that Pakistan had been blanked 5-0 in ODIs. For Australia, it was their eight consecutive ODI win following their impressive come-from-behind 3-2 series victory in India.
When asked if Australia is capable of winning the 2019 World Cup, Arthur said, “I definitely think they are .”
“There are travelling really well. All the final jigsaw parts are coming together nicely.
“Australia look a very, very good side They will be a threat at the World Cup … I think there’s up to seven teams that can win the World Cup.”
It has been a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for Australia after a disastrous 2018 which saw them lose 11 of the their 13 ODIs. Skipper Aaron Finch, who finished as the man of the series for scoring 451 runs, believes his side will go into the World Cup in England with a positive mindset.
“We’ll go to the World Cup with a lot of confidence now, even after a lot of people wrote us off,” said Finch.
“Potentially we had a real focus coming here and that was our last hit-out before the World Cup so we wanted to go into that tournament with a lot of momentum.”
Pakistan, meanwhile, had opted to rest several senior stars for the five-match series including skipper Sarfraz Ahmed and Arthur conceded it was a matter of fatigue.
“All we can do is prepare as best we can. We got on the road in September last year for the Asia Cup and then went to South Africa and then had the Pakistan Super League so we had to rest them,” the Pakistan coach explained.
Sri Lankan Test captain Dimuth Karunaratne was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in Colombo, local police said on Sunday.
Karunaratne was taken into custody following an early morning accident that resulted in the driver of a three-wheeler taken to hospital.
“We have released him on personal bail, but he was asked to be in court on Monday for a magisterial inquiry,” a police spokesman was quoted as saying by AFP.
The incident comes as Sri Lankan board decides captain of the one-day team for the 2019 World Cup in England.
Karunaratne led Sri Lanka to a stunning Test series win in South Africa and has been tipped to lead the one-day side as well.
“Sri Lanka Cricket will also follow the due process as per his ‘Player Contractual Obligation’ … and conduct an inquiry in order to take necessary action,” the board said in a statement.
It’s been a sorry tour for Pakistan, but they at least have one more chance to save face against Australia in the UAE.
They are staring at a 5-0 whitewash, but the men in green did show real signs of life in Dubai on Friday before their unthinkable collapse with 10 overs to go.
They have made one change, with Mohammad Abbas coming in for teenage seamer Mohammad Hasnain, while Australia also mix up their pace ranks as Jason Behrendorff replaces Nathan Coulter-Nile.
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