‘Team with best bowlers’ will win World Cup, says Shadab Khan

‘Team with best bowlers’ will win World Cup, says Shadab Khan

Spin bowling all-rounder Shadab Khan on Sunday said the team with the strongest bowling unit, capable of stemming the runs on India’s batting-friendly pitches, will win the World Cup.

The 24-year-old is leading Pakistan’s spin attack that has come under severe criticism for not taking wickets in the middle overs.

Khan himself managed just six wickets in five Asia Cup games last month with four coming against outsiders Nepal in a tournament where Pakistan crashed out in the Super Four stage.

But Khan hoped Pakistan’s bowling can stage a comeback at the World Cup which gets underway on Thursday.

“I think the team that has the best bowling will win the World Cup because the pitches will produce high totals,” he told a news conference.

Pakistan suffered a five-wicket loss to New Zealand in their first warm-up match of the tournament on Friday.

They face Australia in their second warm-up game — also in Hyderabad — on Tuesday before opening their World Cup campaign against the Netherlands at the same venue three days later.

Despite losing frontline pacer Naseem Shah to a shoulder injury, Khan insists Pakistan still boast a world-class attack.

“Of course, Naseem will be missed, but our bowlers are world-class so if we perform well in bowling then we can achieve the best results.”

Leg-break bowler Khan, who has 88 wickets from 64 one-day international matches, vowed to lift his own game in the seven-week World Cup.

“Maybe there was a mental barrier and I think that will not be there now because of the rest I have had. The past is past and when the World Cup matches come I will be playing with a fresh mindset.”

Khan also backed out-of-form Fakhar Zaman who was not asked to bat in Friday’s warm-up game.

“Fakhar is an impact player, we all know that,” he said of the left-hander who managed just 65 runs in four Asia Cup innings.

“We have given him mental space and we need to back an impact player like him.”

Khan also said the players were overwhelmed by the hospitality since their arrival in Hyderabad under tight security on Wednesday.

“It’s been a superb welcome. People coming to the hotel and their hospitality has been fantastic.

“The food is delicious. I fear our fat levels and weight will go over the limit!” he added.

“Hopefully, we get the same hospitality in Ahmedabad when we play India,” said Khan of Pakistan’s high-voltage game against their arch-rivals on October 14.

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