Ignore Pakistan at your own peril

With cricket’s greatest carnival underway in England, the 10 best teams are raring to go. With the quality of cricket played by all contenders over the last few years, this edition of the Cricket World Cup is expected to produce some of the most exciting, nail-biting thrillers to-date.

Pakistan enters the World Cup as the dark horse. Given their mercurial and unpredictable nature, one can’t rule them out, especially as the tournament is happening in the same country that saw them conquer the world in the 2017 Champions Trophy. However, a string of defeats recently has shaken the confidence in the dressing room. The sudden changes to the World Cup squad after the hefty series defeat to England has certainly rang alarm bells within the Pakistan cricket fraternity.

Despite the recent poor performance of the team, there have been a lot of positives that stand out. The batting line up seems stronger than ever. Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq are flourishing as openers. Babar Azam and Asif Ali provide the impetus that Pakistan had been missing in the middle order since the departure of Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi. The pace bowling is coming together with the inclusion of Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Amir to the squad. The coach and captain seem to be on the same page as far as selection is concerned. Apart from some fielding lapses, which were apparent in the England series, Pakistan team seems to be coming together as a formidable unit.If the ball reverses in English conditions, Pakistan pacers can certainly be tipped to put on a spectacle.

The quintessential stage is set for Pakistan.It up to the 15 men in green to make the nation proud. Win or lose, 210 million Pakistanis will be on-field in spirit with the team to cheer them on. How many times have we witnessed Pakistan down and out right before a major world tournament, and seen them bounce back to knockout leading contenders? Trolling leading cricket experts, Pakistan rose from the ashes to defeat India to win the Champions Trophy 2017 in England. Who says we can’t do it again?

Shayan Jamshed

Georgetown University