Pakistan head coach is keen to use series as preparation for 2019 World Cup
Pakistan Head Coach Mickey Arthur has said that the series against Australia won’t be an easy one, especially after their fantastic comeback in the series against India.
While talking to media ahead of the first ODI, Arthur heaped praise on the Aussie side.
“Australia are a fantastic side; they have sort of bubbled away and are playing some really good cricket at the moment,” said Arthur. “To comeback from 2-0 down in India, and to win that series by a 2-3 margin is a fantastic achievement.”
He added: “They have some fine players like Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon has also bowled well and Pat Cummins is in good nick. I am sure they will be resting and rotating through the series; there is no such thing as a weak Australian team.”
Speaking about resting key members of the squad for the series, including captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, Arthur said that the decision was taken to ensure that players did not get injured ahead of mega event.
“I have been telling the Australian boys that we have been in hotels since the 12 of September last year, so we would have been stupid if just kept on playing our guys,” he said. “If we keep on playing our guys, they will get injured, they will get injured and they will also have fatigue. So, we would be silly not to use this month to rest our most valuable assets for what is the biggest challenge of all, the World Cup.”
The South African also spoke about the favourites to lift the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales.
“Look I think it is going to be a formidable World Cup. There are seven teams that can seriously win it,” he said. “My head says that England and India are the favourites but Pakistan and South Africa are the next 2 for me, so that will be my top 4; India, England, Pakistan and South Africa.”
Arthur also said that the series will be used to assess Men in Green’s bench strength and figuring about the ideal combination for the upcoming mega event.
“For us this isn’t so much about us and Australia; it’s about the final couple of positions for the World Cup and the opportunities that have been created for a lot of our bench,” he said. “We need to find what our next players are in every position and if we can do that out of this series, then this series will be a success for us. When we designed this series, a long while ago, we designed it with the fact that we are going to test our bench strength.”
He was also confident about going into the World Cup with a well-settled Pakistan squad.
“We will be going to England with a very well settled squad, one that knows where it exactly stands in terms of its role etc and we would have done everything we possibly could to be have the best preparation for the World Cup,” he said.