ISLAMABAD: Batting legend Javed Miandad believes the ODI series against Australia won’t be easy for Pakistan whom he insists will have to produce collective show in order to earn positive results Down Under, warning individual performance will not benefit the tourists.

Azhar Ali-led Pakistan open their five-match ODI campaign in Australia with the day-night clash at Brisbane on Friday.

Pakistan, the 1992 World Cup champions side which also featured Miandad, are in serious danger of failing to play directly the 2019 World Cup as they currently sit on a poor eighth position in the ODI team rankings. With 89 points, Pakistan are two points behind Bangladesh and two ahead of the West Indies.

To at least maintain their pre-series ranking points, Pakistan need to win one match of the five-match series Down Under, while victory in more than one match will earn them crucial points.

If Pakistan win two ODIs in Australia, they will join Bangladesh on 91 points but will be ranked behind their Asian rivals by a fraction.

In case Pakistan claim the series, they will move ahead of Bangladesh and, as such, will enhance their chances of qualifying directly for the 2019 showpiece.

“Our team’s morale and confidence are low after the [0-3] Test series loss against Australia. We lack technique, stability and approach in all three formats which needs to be addressed,” Miandad said while talking to APP.

He advised the players to play for the country, like a team.

“Any individual performance won’t matter in the [Australia ODI] series unless we win it. Captain Azhar Ali should lead from the front as all that matters in and off the field is captaincy,” Miandad, the 233-ODI veteran, emphasised.

Responding to a question, he said the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) must start thinking about the replacement of Test skipper Misbah-ul-Haq, wondering for how long the 42-year-old could linger on.

“We must think about future as Misbah can continue for only one or two series, not permanently,” he cautioned.

Meanwhile, former captain Zaheer Abbas said Pakistan could fare well in the Australia ODIs only if they forgot their loss in the Test rubber.

“Without thinking about the Test series loss, the players should move on and take a fresh start [in the ODIs],” Zaheer advised.

Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2017

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