While the likes of hosts England, India and Australia are being seen as the frontrunners to win the World Cup by many, Hussain feels ‘mercurial’ Pakistan have the ability to surprise any opposition on their day.
“Many Pakistani fans will say they have followed their team for too long and had their hearts broken many times, but I love them, and I love their cricket,” the former England captain told PakPassion.net.
“I love them because they are mercurial Pakistan and you wonder which Pakistan will turn up on the day. The fact is that you cannot write off Pakistan for this World Cup.”
There is no dearth of young talent in the 15-man preliminary Pakistan World Cup squad which includes two teenage pacers in the form of Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Hasnain.
While Afridi had a breakthrough year in international cricket in 2018, Hasnain impressed in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) before being handed his ODI debut against Australia recently.
Hussain is in awe of both the young pacers and is expecting them to make their marks in the World Cup.
“Pakistan always produces these players,” the 51-year-old said.
“And the moment they play it’s like, ‘Wow these lads have got something about them.’ This is what Pakistan do, they play them, they pick them, and they give them a chance. It doesn’t matter how old they are, it’s all about whether they are good enough.
“If you can clock 90mph as Mohammad Hasnain and Shaheen Shah Afridi can, then that is the sort of wicket-taking potential that will win this World Cup.”
Pakistan are currently in England where they are set to take on the hosts in a one-off T20I followed by a five-match ODI series. The Men in Green will take on Northamptonshire in their second tour game at Northampton on Monday. They had earlier beaten Kent by 100 runs in their first tour match.
Bangladesh pacer Taskin Ahmed and all-rounder Farhad Reza have been added to the 17-man squad for the upcoming ODI tri-series in Ireland.
Bangladesh had earlier named a 15-man provisional squad for the 2019 ICC World Cup in England led by skipper Mashrafe Mortaza. For the Ireland tri-series, off-spinners Nayeem Hasan and Yasir Ali had been added to the 15-man squad which has now swelled to 19 with the inclusions of Taskin and Farhad.
Pacer Taskin Ahmed did not make the cut for the provisional World Cup but he was named as a standby player for the tournament given the injury concerns surrounding Rubel Hossain and Mustafizur Rahman.
Farhad, meanwhile, is back in the ODI squad for the first time since 2011 and his inclusion comes on the back of him finishing as the highest wicket-taker in the recently concluded Dhaka Premier League (DPL).
The 32-year-old all-rounder has previously featured in 34 ODIs and 13 T20Is for Bangladesh with the last of those appearances coming in a clash against Hong Kong in March, 2014.
West Indies are the third team in the ODI tri-series in Ireland which begins on May 5. Bangladesh will open their campaign on May 7 when they take on West Indies at Dublin. Each team will face the others twice in the tri-series with the top two teams advancing to the final which takes place on May 17.
BANGLADESH 19-MAN SQUAD FOR TRI-SERIES
Mashrafe Mortaza (c), Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Mithun, Sabbir Rahman, Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammad Shaifuddin, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Abu Jayed, Nayeem Hasan, Yasir Ali, Taskin Ahmed, Farhad Reza.
Four young spinners in Dubai got a golden opportunity to work on their craft under the watchful eyes of Pakistan spin icon Saeed Ajmal at Kings’ School, Al Barsha, on Friday.
The Saeed Ajmal International Cricket Academy (SAICA) was in Dubai over the weekend as part of their player development programme and took part in the Kings’ Cup Dubai clash with Kings Cricket Academy.
While SAICA won the game by 87 runs, it was all about the experience for the young kids of Kings’ Cricket Academy.
More importantly, it was a dream come true for Kings’ spinners Hamad Arshad, Chris Sequiera, Raunak Vaswani and Lovepreet Singh who got to pick the brains of Ajmal.
“Ajmal himself volunteered to work with our spinners after watching them train before the game. After the match was over, he spent half an hour with them working on just their off-spin,” Kings Cricket Academy coach Ash Mohammed said.
For Mohammed and Kings’ Academy, it was more about learning from the best in the business. SAICA had some experienced players in their line-up like Khurram Shahzad – who scored a century on Friday – and Ajmal who decided to bowl in the match.
“Ajmal not only bowled in the match, but he also bowled every variation he had. It was a great learning experience for our players.
“Winning or losing becomes less important when we see kids showcase their talent and confidence to perform at the best of their ability while still looking to improve,” the coach added.
For the record, SAICA posted 368-8 in their 30 overs with Shahzad scoring a ton. KCA made a spirited reply in the chase, reaching 281 before being bowled out in 20.1 overs with captain Hamad Arshad scoring 46. SAICA won the match by 87 runs. In fact, Arshad also got Ajmal out on the first ball of the first innings.