Pakistan all-rounder Shadab Khan is excited at the prospect of the 2023 ODI World Cup in India.
The 24-year-old said that the Men in Green are acclimatized to the sub-conditions by comparing their game in Hyderabad to Pakistan’s Rawalpindi.
With flat tracks on offer in India for the marquee ICC event, Shadab believes that a strong bowling unit would go on to lift the World Cup. He reckons that Pakistan will be the favorites owing to their strong bowling unit.
The statement came even as they lost to New Zealand with over six overs to spare despite scoring 345.
Shadab Khan told the reporters on Sunday (October 1), as quoted by Cricket Pakistan:
"The conditions so far in India have felt similar to Pakistan. Even the last warm-up felt like we were playing in Rawalpindi.”
"I feel the champion of this World Cup will be a good bowling side because the conditions here offer flat tracks and small boundaries. We have world-class bowlers, and I feel as a bowling unit, we have to perform really well to become champions."
Shadab further opened up on his recent struggles with the ball. The leg spinner said that getting enough rest after the Asia Cup has helped him get over the mental strain. On this, he said:
"My form has not been good recently, but I got a lot of rest [after the Asia Cup]. You do get mentally down after playing a lot of cricket and not performing. Obviously, the skills are there, but the much-needed rest has helped me get over the mental barrier. The past is past now.”
Since 2022, Shadab has scalped 21 wickets in 16 ODIs at an economy rate of 5.31. He has also scored 300 runs in 12 innings at an average of 25, including a lone half-century in June 2022.
“He already has three tons this year in winning cause” – Shadab Khan backs under-fire Fakhar Zaman for World Cup
Shadab Khan, meanwhile, backed Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman amid his lean patch with the bat ahead of the World Cup. The Pakistan vice-captain pointed out how Fakhar is a match-winning player for the Men in Green. He told the reporters:
"Fakhar Zaman is a big player. He is impactful player, not that consistent, but highly impactful. When he performs the team wins. He already has 3 tons this year in winning cause. We have no doubts about him. We wanted to give him mental space. We'll always support him.”
Fakhar has scored just 124 runs in his last seven ODI innings at an average of 17.7. Overall, he has scored 644 runs in 16 ODIs, including three tons in 2023 so far.
Pakistan squad: Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Mohammad Rizwan, Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Salman Ali Agha, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Wasim.
Pakistan will play their last warmup game against Australia in Hyderabad on Tuesday, October 3.
Click here to check out the 2023 ODI World Cup full schedule.