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Pakistan have bright chance of winning 2019 World Cup: Shafiq

Middle-order batsman backs Men in Green to do well in the mega event

PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan middle-order batsman Asad Shafiq has said that the Men in Green stand a good chance to lift the 2019 World Cup trophy in England and Wales.

While speaking in an exclusive interview with Cricket Pakistan, Shafiq said that Pakistan’s major strength is making a comeback despite the odds being stacked against them.

“The strength of Pakistan team lies in making a comeback from any position,” said Shafiq. “One or two bad series does not mean we are not a good side. I think we have a bright chance of winning the World Cup.”

Shafiq also shared his thoughts about the side’s whitewash at the hands of South Africa during the recently concluded Test series. He added that consistency is the key when performing in Test cricket.

“Test series against South Africa was not good one for me on a personal level as well as the entire team,” he said. “Consistency is extremely important and this is something which is missing from my game but I’m working on it and hopefully will do well in this regard in the future.”

While speaking about areas where the team went wrong, Shafiq said: “We did not build partnerships on a regular basis. Also the bowling was not up to the mark bearing in mind the helpful conditions.”

The right-handed batsman also spoke about the importance of improving his conversion rate while batting.

“In the recent past, I got settled and then lost my wicket on a number of occasions which was disappointing,” he said. “I will try to ensure that I convert those starts into a big score next time I get the opportunity.”

The responsibility of scoring bulk of the runs has fallen on the shoulders of Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq since the departure of stalwarts like Misbahul Haq and Younis Khan but this is not something that bothers Shafiq.

“We don’t feel pressure because of their absence but it definitely results in additional responsibility,” he said. “Me and Azhar have not been able to perform in accordance with the expectations since their departure but we will try to put a better show in the upcoming series.”

The 32-year-old also shared his views on the openers doing well in order to provide a solid foundation to the batting aspect.

“If the openers don’t do well, it puts a lot of pressure on the middle-order,” he said. “But then again this is not an excuse for being inconsistent. We are professionals and we should score runs no matter what the situation is.”

Shafiq also brushed aside the news that Arthur went over the line with his criticism during the first Test of the series against South Africa.

“That incident was exaggerated,” he said. “We lost that match despite being in a good position which was quite embarrassing and disappointing.”

Quetta Gladiators opted not to retain him during the Pakistan Super League draft in November last year but he found that decision from the franchise fair.

“I don’t know why they did not retain me,” he said. “Although I think that, last season, I got full opportunity to make my mark but I was not able to deliver which is why I find this treatment fair enough.”

Shafiq — who last played an ODI match in January 2017 — was adamant about continuing to play the shorter formats of the game.

“Retirement is not something that is on my mind right now as I never lose hope and will continue to work hard in the limited-overs format,” he said. “I believe that you are always just two or three good innings away from getting a place in the shorter formats of the game.”

Speaking about being handed over the captaincy duties in the future, Shafiq said that it will be honour although that his not his decision to make.

“Captaining Pakistan is an honour for any cricketer but it all depends on the PCB as to whether they want me to serve in that role,” he said.