The young mystery spinner had an excellent debut IPL campaign with Kings XI Punjab in 2018 where he picked up 14 wickets in 11 outings. However, an injury saw Mujeeb’s 2019 campaign restricted to just five matches in which he managed to pick up just three wickets.
Having played under the captaincy of Ravichandran Ashwin at KXIP, Mujeeb now wants to take the knowledge gained from the India Test stalwart into the World Cup campaign.
“Ashwin is a great bowler,” the youngster said on the sidelines of Afghanistan’s World Cup jersey unveiling on Tuesday.
“His carom ball is tough to pick. In the last two years, I have learnt a lot from him. This year, we had many discussions. I am going to apply some of the learnings in the World Cup,” he added.
Apart from his lack of wickets and appearances, Mujeeb’s 2019 IPL campaign was also an expensive one with the spinner going at a rate of more than 10 runs an over. Despite the unflattering numbers, Mujeeb remains unperturbed about his bowling and is confident of doing well on the pitches in England.
“Any bowler can be exposed after a period of time in world cricket but what is important is that I keep bowling right line and length,” he said.
“I don’t think so I will have any issues if I am bowling well. IPL is a great platform for me. I have bowled at some of the batsmen who are going to feature in the World Cup.
“I was totally focused in the last two months. And I have bowled in England. I know how to bowl on those pitches.”
Led by Gulbadin Naib, Afghanistan will open their 2019 World Cup campaign on June 1 when they take on five-time champions Australia at Bristol.
The Men in Green go up against Eoin Morgan and his men in the first ODI at the Oval in London on Wednesday and Sarfraz is delighted with the chance to finetune his side’s preparations for the World Cup to follow.
“It is definitely a big advantage for us, playing five top-quality ODIs before the World Cup,” the Pakistan skipper stated on the eve of the first ODI.
“We’re all focusing on the World Cup. But our first target is this ODI series.
“If we can take some confidence from this series, it will definitely help us in this World Cup.”
On his own batting position, the wicketkeeper batsman is hoping to bat as high as No4 or No5 in the upcoming ODI series as well as in the World Cup. The right-hander has previously been coming at No6 in the batting order for the most part.
“My aim is in England to bat four or five, throughout the World Cup,” Sarfraz remarked.
“We’ve come to a World Cup, it’s a long tournament so it’s good to have a stable and set batting order in which everyone knows where they are batting.
“We will obviously be flexible so that when there are fewer overs left we might switch around if we need somebody as a hitter and look at sending Imad (Wasim) or Asif (Ali).”
Pakistan come to England on the back of a 5-0 ODI whitewash at the hands of Australia in the UAE. They will be hoping to take inspiration from their 2017 ICC Champions Trophy triumph at the Oval against India as they begin their final stretch of games before the start of the 2019 World Cup.
The young pacer had shown plenty of promise after a breakthrough year in international cricket but he will now be replaced by Kane Richardson in Australia’s 15-man squad for the World Cup.
Jhye Richardson had earlier picked up the shoulder injury while fielding in the deep during the ODI series between Pakistan and Australia in the UAE.
“This is, obviously, very disappointing news for the team and for Jhye, who has been exceptional throughout his rehabilitation process,” Australia team physiotherapist David Beakley was quoted as saying by Sydney Morning Herald.
“After his most recent assessment and attempting to bowl in the nets, it was clear that Jhye was not progressing as fast as required and therefore, in consultation with selectors, we made the decision to withdraw him from the squad.
“Jhye will continue with his rehabilitation and we will look to resume bowling in the coming weeks. At this stage, we are still hopeful that he could be available for the Australia A tour of England.”
The 22-year-old pacer will now be aiming to be fit in time for Australia A’s tour of England which is set to take place at the end of June. He will hope to make his case for an Ashes call up during the tour with the historic Test series between England and Australia due to start in August.
Since making his ODI debut for Australia last year, Richardson has gone on to claim 24 wickets in 12 matches at an average of just over 26. The right-armed pacer was handed his Test debut at the start of the year in Australia’s home series against Sri Lanka.