Sarfraz Ahmed relishing Pakistan's 'underdogs' status going into the 2019 World Cup

Waseem Ahmed 17:21 22/04/2019
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Sarfraz Ahmed and Mickey Arthur. Image - @TheRealPCB/Twitter.

Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed is relishing the prospect of his young side going into the 2019 ICC World Cup as relative underdogs.

Pakistan are set to depart for England on Tuesday where they will first take on the hosts in a five-match ODI series and a one-off T20 before commencing their World Cup operations.

The Men in Green do not go to England in the best of forms having suffered an embarrassing 5-0 ODI whitewash at the hands of Australia in the UAE but that has done little to dampen Sarfraz’s optimism.

“Look, when we go as favourites, then it’s a problem, but if we go as underdogs then other teams feel the danger, so I think being underdogs is good for us and eases the pressure,” the wicketkeeper-batsman stated in a press conference in Lahore on Monday.

Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur was in confident mood as well in the media interaction with the South African targeting a semi-final run at the minimum.

“I think these are exciting times for Pakistan cricket and for the team,” said Arthur.

“The initial thing is to qualify for the last four and take it from there, so I think we have the potential to certainly go all the way but before that we have to play very well,” he added.

With all 10 participating teams set to play each other in the rejigged format, all eyes will be on Pakistan’s clash with arch-rivals India on June 16 at Old Trafford in Manchester.

India have beaten Pakistan in each of the six previous World Cup clashes between the two sides but skipper Sarfraz is taking confidence from his side’s 2017 ICC Champions Trophy final triumph over their neighbours.

“For us all nine matches are important so we will take every match as a match against India,” Sarfraz opined.

“We have beaten India in a bigger event recently so we will have that advantage,” he continued.

A 17-man Pakistan squad will depart for England on Tuesday with Mohammad Amir and Asif Ali as the two extra players added for the five-match ODI series against the hosts. Leg-spinner Shadab Khan has been ruled out of the ODI series with a virus and it will be Yasir Shah who will take his place in the squad.

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