World Cup 2023: ‘Pakistan’s bowling attack best in the world’

Pakistan cricket team Director Mickey Arthur addresses a press conference on October 5, 2023. — ICC
Pakistan cricket team Director Mickey Arthur addresses a press conference on October 5, 2023. — ICC 

As the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 kick-started today, Pakistan team Director Mickey Arthur on Thursday called Green Shirts’ bowling attack “the best” in the world.

Addressing a press conference, Arthur discussed various aspects of the team’s readiness, development, and expectations, besides sharing his excitement about the upcoming challenges as the Green Shirts were ready for their opening fixture against the Netherlands during the mega event.

Although Pakistan conceded close to 700 runs in warm-up games, Arthur rates Pakistan’s bowling as the best in the world.

Expressing confidence in his team’s ability and readiness ahead of their opening match in the mega event, Arthur said: “I think our bowling attack is the best in the world. If we score runs, our bowlers can defend it.”

During the Asia Cup, the Men in Green opted to announce their playing XI one day before the game but now they will announce on the toss.

“We have an idea of our team, and our 11 players are ready. When the toss happens, the playing XI will be revealed.”

“The pressure of a World Cup is always massive. But I think our boys are in a really good place and part of the attraction for me is it’s a very similar squad to what we had in 2019 and it’s almost unfinished business,” he said.

“I felt in 2019 we were very, very close. These young boys have now become men. They’ve become very experienced. They’ve had another four years of experience. And during those four years, we have the best win-loss ratio in ODIs. So, these guys are ready for everything that’s thrown at them in this competition,” the Pakistan team director added.

Arthur said that the team is committed to playing its brand of cricket, which he mentioned as “The Pakistan Way”, and expressed confidence that Pakistan can win the World Cup by winning this brand of cricket.

Arthur also discussed the team’s cricketing identity, saying: “We play our way, which is called the Pakistan way. We will also win the World Cup in the same way. The form continues to come, but there is no doubting the quality of the boys.”

He stressed the team’s commitment to their unique style of play.

Arthur denied that the Men in Green’s batting is dependent on Pakistan captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan. 

“Our batting does not just revolve around Babar and Rizwan. We have many talented batsmen, including Imam, Saud Shakeel, and Fakhar Zaman are also quality batsmen.”

Arthur also backed vice-captain Shadab Khan, whose form has been criticised recently. “Shadab is the best all-round player. I hope he will be in form from tomorrow. I have no worries about Shadab; he will return to his form soon.”

“I wholeheartedly back Shadab’s ability. He’s a wonderful cricketer. You look at his package of bowling, batting, fielding, he’s exceptional. If we look at his bowling in isolation, he’s just short of a little confidence. 

“He hasn’t lost his ability to turn the ball. His googly is still very, very good. He’s one performance away from getting that confidence back and making sure that he has a really big influence on this World Cup.”

Looking ahead to the much-anticipated India-Pakistan clash, Arthur acknowledged the inherent tension, saying: “An India-Pakistan match is always stressful. The Indian team is good, our team is also ready. Hope we win two matches before the India match.”

Arthur also shared his observations about the warm reception the team has received in India, saying, “The boys enjoyed coming to India and received the best welcome. Indian fans don’t get to see Babar, Rizwan, and Shaheen much. You have seen how the Indian fans are welcoming the Pakistani team.”

Replying to a question about the form of bowlers and opening batters, Arthur emphasised players’ exceptional skills and expressed confidence that with the right mindset and technical preparation, these players could regain their form and perform well in the upcoming matches.

Pakistan’s clash against the Netherlands will be played at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad.

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