Sarfraz not concerned about India’s refusal to play Pakistan at World Cup

Updated April 12, 2019

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed poses with ICC World Trophy during it’s Trophy Tour on Thursday.—Tanveer Shehzad/White Star
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed poses with ICC World Trophy during it’s Trophy Tour on Thursday.—Tanveer Shehzad/White Star

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has no concerns if India refuses to take part in the World Cup match between the two sides, national team captain Sarfraz Ahmed said on Thursday.

The arch-rivals are set to meet in Manchester on June 16 but the blockbuster clash is in doubt with India having threatened it will boycott the match due to diplomatic tensions between the two countries.

“I don’t want to discuss about it,” Sarfraz said at a press conference where he unveiled the ICC World Cup Trophy, which is on the tour of the country till April 14. “It’s India’s issue and it’s their headache. We are concerned with our performance at the World Cup and we will try to give our best at the World Cup.”

Pakistan’s World Cup squad is due to be announced by next week with the team due to depart for England on April 23 where they will play an ODI series against the hosts ahead of the mega event.

“The teams taking part in the World Cup are all going to be tough and we will try to gear up for the competition in the England series and the warm-up matches,” Sarfraz said.

He said he wasn’t worried by the form of Pakistan’s middle order. “We have good middle order batsmen like Babar Azam, Haris Sohail and Mohammad Hafeez and I’m not worried. We will pick the best players for the World Cup,” he said.

The wicket-keeper also indicated that Mohammad Rizwan could be included as a back-up option to him for the World Cup. “He’s been playing well over the last few months and Rizwan can be taken solely as a batsman based on his performances,” said Sarfraz.

On the recent ODI series against Australia, where Pakistan were whitewashed 5-0 after resting several key players including him, Sarfraz said it was to try new players. “To fill some slots in the team, newcomers were given a chance in that series,” he said.

The World Cup trophy has come to Pakistan for the second time within a year and Sarfraz, whose team open their World Cup campaign against the West Indies on May 31, said was hopeful of “bringing it to Pakistan again after winning the World Cup”.

Read: No change in India-Pakistan World Cup match, says Richardson

Bringing the trophy this time around are Golootlo — the official partners of ICC. Company officials said that the trophy was also travel to Lahore and Karachi.

The trophy will be displayed at Islamabad’s Centaurus Mall on Friday, at the Packages Mall in Lahore on Saturday and at the Dolmen Mall Clifton in Karachi a day later.

The main ceremony will be held in Karachi at the Moin Khan Academy where a concert, food festival and fireworks have been arranged.

Published in Dawn, April 12th, 2019