Bowling has traditionally been Pakistan’s strong suit but since that is unlikely to be the case in India, the onus will be on their batters, skipper Babar Azam in particular, to drive their bid for a second 50-overs World Cup title.
Pakistan were the number one ODI side a month ago and Babar’s team looked favourites as they began their campaign in the recent Asia Cup.
Pace spearhead Naseem Shah injured his bowling shoulder against India and was ruled of the World Cup disrupting his potent new-ball partnership with Shaheen Afridi.
Hasan Ali was drafted in but Pakistan would not rely to a large extent on Afridi to get those early breakthroughs.
Pakistan spinners, including vice-captain Shadab Khan, also struggled for wickets in the tournament but Babar believes in the players who put the side top of the rankings.
“We know we have lapsed in fielding and in our wicket-taking abilities in the middle overs but we are going to work on it and hopefully will not be repeating them,” Babar said before leaving for India.
The 28-year-old was not amused when asked if the 1992 winners would be happy with a top-four finish in India.
“The top four is a small goal for us. We want to come out as winners,” said Babar.
Although this is not the first time Pakistan would enter a World Cup looking slightly unsettled, they will have their work cut out in India.