Pakistan team manager Mickey Arthur has spoken about possible changes to the Men in Green XI for Saturday’s World Cup clash against New Zealand in Bangalore.
When asked about possible changes to the squad, Arthur spoke highly of Haris Rauf’s role as a striker and hinted at his possible stay in the squad. However, he also hinted at the possibility of a change in the game plan, similar to the inclusion of Fakhar Zaman, who has produced excellent performances since his return from injury, particularly against Bangladesh.
“If we make a change – and only Haris Rauf makes a real role for us. You know, he’s our striker. So, no, we wouldn’t want to change Haris Rauf because he has a certain role for us in the team. But there is a possibility of changing the program game, yes,” said Arthur.
Arthur further described the tight security measures facing his team at the World Cup in India as “repulsive”, leaving the players feeling like they were “back in the Covid era”.
“As a Pakistan team, we play a lot of cricket, so being on the road is nothing new for these guys. I was kind of surprised. I found it difficult. It’s almost like we’re back in the Covid era where you were almost isolated in floor and in your team room. So much so that their breakfast is in a separate room for everyone else. That was the difficult aspect,” he added.
Pakistan is playing a tournament in India for the first time since 2016.
Arthur said that outside of games and practice, the team had not had many outings since arriving in the last week of September.
“The boys are used to being on the road, but when they are on the road, they can still go out and go and have lunch, for example, in different places, and go out on their own. We didn’t manage to do that this time. And that was hard. That was pretty suffocating.” Arthur said.
Arthur said no decision has yet been taken on the inclusion of opener Shadab Khan in the remaining matches after he suffered a concussion against South Africa.
“Shadab went through a preliminary test today. He passed OK, but we’re not in a position to make a decision on him yet,” Arthur said.
This was Shadab’s third concussion after colliding with a Sussex team-mate in a Twenty20 match in the UK in May 2023 and at the Asia Cup last year.
Meanwhile, Arthur admitted that Pakistan have not played to their full potential in India.
“I’ll be brutally honest, I don’t think we’ve played to our full potential in this tournament yet. I thought the Bangladesh game was the first game where we played a full game together.”
Pakistan beat Bangladesh by seven wickets in Kolkata on Tuesday, their third win in seven matches.
Now they not only need to beat New Zealand on Saturday and defending champions England (Kolkata on November 11), but also hope other results go their way.
“We got to a point before the Bangladesh game where it was kind of out of our hands and it came back in a funny way back into our hands,” Arthur said.
Arthur admitted South Africa’s 190-run defeat by New Zealand on Wednesday gave them a lifeline.
“South Africa have done us a bit of a favor by pushing it back into our hands, albeit a long shot and we need to win big in both of our remaining matches,” he concluded.
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