World Cup 2019: Pakistan’s unpredictable tag makes them dangerous, says Azhar Ali

Azhar did not pick any favourites to win the cup and said all the teams have the potential to pick the trophy.

Azhar Ali ODI
Azhar Ali. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

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Pakistan is one team in the cricketing world which is known for its unpredictability and the tag is an advantage, according to many. Azhar Ali, one of Pakistan’s regular batsmen in Tests, feels that the team’s ability to bounce back from any situation makes it dangerous. He last played in an ODI for Pakistan in January 2018 before retiring from the format but plays more regularly in the Test side. The 34-year-old batsman is currently playing for Somerset in Royal London One-Day Cup, tournament.

Pakistan’s tag as an ‘unpredictable side’ got cemented in the 1992 World Cup when they made the semi-finals despite a poor start. In fact, the team went on to win the tournament under the leadership of Imran Khan, the country’s current prime minister. In that edition, the Men in Green beat England in the final after having been bowled out for 74 by them in the league stage game.

“It’s annoying for us to keep being unpredictable, but it’s true. We know we can bounce back from anywhere and that makes us dangerous. We have done well in World Cups, even though no-one rates us that highly in the build-up. We always produce good performances so hopefully this will be a special one,” Azhar told ICC during the World Cup Trophy tour.

He also spoke over the speculation around pacer Mohammad Amir, who has not been picked in the preliminary squad of 15 for the World Cup owing to his poor form but is touring England at the moment. Pakistan are currently playing England in an ODI series and if Amir can do well in the series, he could make it to the World Cup squad as well.

“It’s up to the selectors but Amir is definitely a very good bowler. He’s lacked form in a few ODIs and didn’t perform up to his potential, but we all know he’s world—class. It’s up to the management and selectors to decide whether he’s up to it or not. If he performs well against England, he might just get in the squad,” Azhar Ali said.

Match practice in England will help Pakistan

On Pakistan’s chances at the title, Azhar said the Men in Green have played a lot of cricket in England in recent times and it will help them during the World Cup. Pakistan will kick off their campaign against Windies on May 31 and take on England on June 3. Sarfaraz Ahmed’s men will take on arch-rivals India on June 16.

Azhar though did not pick any favourites to win the cup and said all the teams have the potential to pick the trophy.

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