Five Pakistan players reportedly fail fitness test during ODI series against Australia

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Abid Ali is one of the five players to have reportedly failed the test.

As many as five Pakistan players are reported to have failed their fitness test in the recently concluded five-match ODI series against Australia.

The Men in Green were whitewashed by 5-0 for only the fourth time in their history with Aaron Finch and his men coming up trumps in all departments.

To add insult to injury to Pakistan, five players including debutant Abid Ali have failed their fitness test according to a report by Geo News.

Abid Ali had impressed in the fourth ODI where he made his debut by becoming only the third Pakistan batsman to register a century in their maiden 50-over outing for the country.

Along with Abid, the other four players to have failed the fitness test according to the report are Umar Akmal, stand-in skipper Imad Wasim, young pacer Mohammad Hasnain and senior leg-spinner Yasir Shah.

All-rounder Imad Wasim too has failed his fitness test.

All-rounder Imad Wasim too has failed his fitness test.

Imad had stood in as the Pakistan skipper in the fourth and fifth ODIs after an injury to Shoaib Malik. 18-year-old pacer Hasnain was handed his Pakistan debut in the series with the Quetta Gladiators youngster capturing two wickets in his three appearances.

Umar, meanwhile, had a high score of 48 in the five matches with the right-handed batsman also handed an official reprimand for a late night out on the eve of the final ODI.

Leg-spinner Yasir Shah was given four outings in the series in the absence of Shadab Khan but was unable to create the desired impact with just the four wickets to show for.

The team’s shoddy efforts on the field in the 5-0 drubbing is said to have concerned fielding coach Grant Bradburn with several catches put down.

There will reportedly be no compromise on the players’ fitness levels when the team’s World Cup training camp gets underway in Lahore. Pakistan are due to depart for England for the 2019 ICC World Cup on August 23 where they will first play a five-match ODI series along with a sole T20 clash against the hosts.

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Alastair Cook backs England to lift 2019 ICC World Cup on home soil

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Former England opener Alastair Cook (l).

Former opener Alastair Cook believes hosts England are the favourites for the 2019 ICC World Cup and is backing Eoin Morgan and his men to win the grand prize in front of home fans this summer.

Cook, who was recently knighted for his services, feels that England have learned their lesson from their 2017 Champions Trophy semi-final defeat on home soil to eventual champions Pakistan.

“England have an outstanding chance,” Cook was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.

“This is first time going into a World Cup England have such a settled squad. Everything looks great from the outside, they have every option covered.”

“They had that blip in the Champions Trophy, where they lost in the semi-final to Pakistan when they were favourites, but you need those lows to be able to grow as a side.”

Morgan and his men are ranked No1 in the ODI format.

Morgan and his men are ranked No1 in the ODI format.

No1 ranked England are yet to win a 50-over World Cup title and Cook is confident that the drought will finally end on July 14 when the final is held at Lord’s.

“They are favourites. This is a great opportunity for Eoin (Morgan) and the guys to play some fantastic cricket,” the 34-year-old said.

“There are match winners throughout the squad, there are batsmen that can win games on their own, and over the last six or eight months the bowling has really come on. I think they are going to win it.”

Hosts England will open their 2019 World Cup campaign on May 30 when they take on South Africa in the tournament opener at the Oval in London.

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Mickey Arthur admits concern over Pakistan's lack of power-hitters in ODI format

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Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur.

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur has admitted concern over the team’s lack of power-hitters following their comprehensive ODI series loss at the hands of Australia in the UAE.

Pakistan were swept aside by the Aussies in the five-match series as they succumbed to a 5-0 ODI whitewash for only the fourth time in their history. While several senior players were handed a rest, Pakistan’s inability to force the scoring rate was evident across the series with the team struggling to breach the 300-run mark.

“That’s (lack of big hitters) one of our areas of concern,” Arthur was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz upon the team’s return to Lahore.

“We have to make sure that we get our guys to bat in those positions as best as they can. That’s the reason we used Faheem Ashraf in two games. He has done hell of a work in that regard and we wanted to give him more batting time.

“We have worked really hard with Imad Wasim in that role. Hasan (Ali) can hit the ball long distances. Shadab (Khan) has worked extremely hard on that aspect of his game. Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez have worked consistently on their power-hitting. But, it is an area that is a worry and we have to work extremely hard to rectify it.”

Pakistan were second best in all aspects against the Aussies.

Pakistan were second best in all aspects against the Aussies.

One of the men Pakistan were looking to solve their power-hitting woes was Umar Akmal with the right-handed batsman handed a recall to the ODI squad after more than two years.

However, Akmal faded away after a promising 48 in the first ODI and was in the news for the wrong reasons after being officially reprimanded for a late night out ahead of the final clash at Dubai.

“Umar Akmal’s attitude through the tour was very good. He worked exceptionally hard, trained hard, and tried very hard to impress in all areas. He’ll be disappointed that he didn’t get a big innings,” explained Arthur.

Pakistan’s 2019 ICC World Cup sojourn will begin on April 23 when they depart for England. The Men in Green are slated to take on hosts England in a five-match ODI series along with a solitary T20 clash before heading into the World Cup warm-up matches.

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