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June 15, 2019

Pakistan mull over playing eleven for big match


June 15, 2019

MANCHESTER: At the County Ground in Taunton on Wednesday, Inzamam-ul-Haq kept pacing around in the ICC Hospitality area reserved for VIPs. You could tell that he was angered by each and every Pakistani wicket that fell as the national team crumbled while chasing 308 to beat Australia.

You could tell from the look on his face as Pakistan crashed to a 41-run defeat that Inzamam was furious at Pakistan’s batting collapse from a strong position. Inzamam, Pakistan’s chief selector, has been a towering presence around Pakistan’s camp even before the start of the World Cup. On Friday, he was very much present at Old Trafford, watching Pakistan train indoors and then going out in the field to inspect the wicket with coach Mickey Arthur and captain Sarfraz Ahmed.

When the Pakistan players were carrying out training in the nets, you could see Inzamam in deep discussion with Arthur. From there he moved to the individual players. Later, he gave his input to the captain and coach after closely inspecting the Old Trafford pitch. Pakistan were yet to decide their final playing eleven for the all-important game on Sunday. It is quite clear that Inzamam would play a key role in the selection of the final line-up.

The talking point on Friday was whether Pakistan should drop out-of-form Shoaib Malik and bring in young Shadab Khan in their playing eleven. Malik flopped with the bat against Australia and was also responsible for sloppy fielding.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani players took extensive turns with the bat and ball in the indoor training facility at Old Trafford. Having reached Manchester from Taunton on Thursday evening, the Pakistanis opted to train in the morning. Their three-hour session had to be moved indoors because of early morning showers in Manchester.

While the Pakistanis were sweating it out in the nets, the Indians were still in Nottingham where their Thursday’s game against New Zealand was abandoned because of rain. India were scheduled to arrive in Manchester from Nottingham Friday evening. They would train on Saturday.

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