Arthur backs Pakistan to mount World Cup challenge

By Sports Desk April 22, 2019

Mickey Arthur believes Pakistan can "go all the way" in the Cricket World Cup despite their one-day international slump.

Pakistan were whitewashed 5-0 by Australia in the United Arab Emirates following a 3-2 series defeat to South Africa.

There are also concerns that leg-spinner Shadab Khan could miss the World Cup after he was ruled out of the ODI series against England next month due to a virus.

Yet coach Arthur feels Pakistan can achieve more glory in England and Wales, two years after winning the ICC Champions Trophy.

Speaking at a news conference before Pakistan's departure for England, Arthur said: "We leave very, very well prepared.

"We leave with a team that has both the talent and attitude to be successful. Our preparation over here has been outstanding, and our preparation leading into the World Cup is brilliant with a series against the world number one side in their own conditions.

"That will give us an opportunity to test ourselves and to test our combination, and to head to the World Cup with a lot of confidence. We know if we play to our potential, we have the ability to go all the way."

Arthur has challenged Yasir Shah – who was not included in the World Cup squad – to grasp his opportunity to face England in the absence of Shadab.

"We wanted a wrist spinner [for the England series]," Arthur said. "Wrist spinners are in vogue in cricket at the moment, all teams have good wrist spinners.

"The key for Yasir is to challenge both edges. If Yasir's challenging both inside and outside edges of the bat, he becomes a different beast. If he only challenges the outside edge, players can line him up and hit him one side of the ground.

"That means he has to bowl his googly more often. In the UAE, the wickets were especially flat and didn't turn. If we get on a wicket that just grips a little bit, Yasir is a bowler we still feel can be a weapon for us. But time will tell on whether we decide to pick him for the final World Cup squad."

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    In Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah they also have the world's number one batsman and bowler in the 50-over format, but for the skipper every game represents a significant obstacle due to the depth of quality in the competition.

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    Kohli, 30, believes handling pressure will be a bigger challenge than tackling the conditions.

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    "Pressure is the most important thing in the World Cup and not necessarily the conditions. From that point of view, it will be helpful. 

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    Dawson was not in England's preliminary 15-man group but makes the final line-up announced on Tuesday.

    Archer was also omitted from the initial squad but the Barbados-born paceman has been named after making a positive impression during England's 4-0 one-day international series defeat of Pakistan.

    Joe Denly and David Willey drop out while James Vince replaces opener Alex Hales, who has not been selected due to an "off-field incident".

    Dawson's inclusion comes after Denly failed to stake his claim against Pakistan, with the Hampshire off-spinner back in the international fold for the first time since he suffered a side strain during last year's tour of Sri Lanka

    The 29-year-old has starred in Hampshire's run to the Royal London One-Day Cup final this year and his county colleague Vince, capped 10 times at one-day international level, adds depth to the batting ranks.

    Archer's rapid rise sees the all-rounder included despite only making his international debut this month, with Liam Plunkett, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes, Tom Curran and Ben Stokes the other pace options in the squad.

    England are among the pre-tournament favourites due to a batting line-up packed with power, with Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow tipped to be among the stars of the World Cup.

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    England's World Cup squad in full:

    Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

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