What’s the story?
In a pre-match press conference in Birmingham earlier today, Pakistan’s captain Sarfraz Ahmed and coach Mickey Arthur spoke about the 12-man squad that is set to take on India in Pakistan’s big opening match of the Champions Trophy 2017.
When asked whether Junaid Khan would play a key role against India tomorrow, Arthur replied, “No, to be brutally honest. We’ve made a squad of twelve people for tomorrow. Junaid Khan, (Haris) Sohail and Fakhar (Zaman) will miss out.”
The former Australian coach also said that the captain-coach relationship requires a special kind of understanding. Talking about the alleged rift between Virat Kohli and Anil Kumble, he said: “We don’t know what’s going on (there). That is India’s problem, to be honest. The relationship between a caption and a coach is almost like a marriage. You need to be on the same page all the time. If you are on the same page, you get the correct decisions and give clarity to your team.”
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Khan, who has been axed for the game against India, had made bold statements about troubling Kohli with his bowling a couple of weeks back. He had said that he has dismissed the Indian skipper three out of the four times they faced off against each other.
He also indicated that since he managed to get the better of Kohli in Asia, it would be relatively easier for him to trouble the 28-year-old on English soil.
Ahmed, while talking about the exclusion of Khan, said that the pacer was left out in order to get the perfect combination against the defending champions. He also assured that his team have plans in place for the Indian skipper and hopes that the men under him would execute the same.
However, he was quick to add that Kohli is a good batsman and the best player India have right now. He believes that getting him out early would put additional pressure on the rest of the Indian batting line-up.
Also read: 5 times Virat Kohli owned the Pakistan bowling attack
It would be interesting to see which one of the 12 short-listed men will miss out tomorrow. The team have an intriguing combination of raw talent and seasoned veterans, and Pakistan’s chances tomorrow will depend on how Ahmed rallies these men.
India, on the other hand, have a problem of plenty. Kohli, in his press conference, stated that choosing amongst the bowlers who have performed brilliantly is his biggest headache.
Dropping Khan after his strong statements is a bold move from the Pakistan team management. Considering their comments about having plans in place for Kohli, it looks like they have found an effective strategy other than the pacer Junaid’s swing.
The match will surely feature a wide-range of strategies that will be put in place by both the captains. Strategies that will be on display right from the toss which would be crucial, to say the least.Published 03 Jun 2017, 21:40 IST