• Pakistan have 19 players for 15 WC places – Arthur

    Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur and national selector Inzamam-ul-Haq have drawn up a shortlist of 19 players from which they will make their final selection for a 15-man squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England.

    The selectors will fine-tune their selection at the conclusion of the Pakistan Premier League (PSL).

    ‘Inzi and I have been on the same page for a long while here. And I’m going to be honest because I’ve told the boys in the dressing room the same thing the other night. I think we’ve got probably 19 players for 15 positions,’ Arthur told the media on Saturday.

    He added that the PSL always offers fringe players a chance to shine and that, naturally, they will take performances in the league into account when making their final selection.

    ‘We have to look at them during the Australian series and then we will make our minds up leading into England. Obviously, we will be taking 15 there. The key is players get clarity in terms of their roles,’ said Arthur.

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    Arthur highlighted the role of spinners in the middle overs which, he believes, will form a key part of Pakistan’s strategy as they vie for a second World Cup success.

    ‘The other thing that’s important for us is having an option with two game plans. We need an option where we have our spinners, who are able to suffocate [the batsmen] through the middle [overs] because the key for us to win one-day games is about taking wickets through that middle period,’ said Arthur.

    ‘Either we do that with two spinners or a little bit of reverse-swing if the weather stays dry, or if the weather is wet over that period of time, there we have to have an option of a seam-bowling all-rounder who can come in and bat at No.7 for us. So we’re very close, we’ve covered all our bases in terms of our personnel at the moment,’ he concluded, adding that he, Inzamam and captain Sarfaraz Ahmed are all on the same page in terms of selections and team strategy.

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    Pakistan’s recent tour of South Africa yielded little success on the field, losing the Test series 3-0, the ODI series 3-2 and the T20I series 2-1 but, despite that, Arthur is happy with their long-term strategy.

    ‘We didn’t rotate our players as much because we are in a process, we need to educate them in all conditions so that’s exactly the decision we’ve made. We’ve played the most cricket over the last four-and-a-half months than any other team in the world. I’m not using it as an excuse because that’s the way it is. We’ve got to handle that,’ he added.

    Photo: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images

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