‘Have to identify our strengths ahead of World Cup 2019’ – Says Sarfaraz Ahmed

Sarfaraz Ahmed, the Pakistan captain, has said they want to “identify their strengths” and “try different blends” in the one-day international series against South Africa to find the right XI ahead of ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

Pakistan are fifth on the ICC ODI Team Rankings and will use the South Africa series, as well as the ODIs against England to follow to fine-tune their planning for the premier tournament, which to starts on 30 May.

The team last gained the World Cup back in 1992, but their success in England, where they raised the ICC Champions Trophy in 2017 and reached the World Cup final in 1999, should give them assurance.

“We have to identify our strengths ahead of the World Cup for which we will be trying different combinations in this series,” Sarfaraz said on Friday, 18 January, ahead of the opening ODI against South Africa.

After a 3-0 defeat against the Proteas in the Test series, the visitors are intense to turn the tables in the shorter formats of the game. The captain believed batting first and putting up a good total was key to that.

“It is necessary to get runs while batting in the first innings. If a touring team is able to do that, they win matches,” he said. “Four of our five matches are day/night encounters. The teams prefer to bat first here, like India did [last year], as it gets difficult to bat under lights.”

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