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‘Team with best bowlers’ will win World Cup, says Shadab

Cites players are overwhelmed by hospitality since their arrival in Hyderabad
Pakistan vice captain Shadab Khan speaks during a media briefing at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad, India on October 1, 2023. AFP
Pakistan vice captain Shadab Khan speaks during a media briefing at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad, India on October 1, 2023. AFP

Pakistan’s spin bowling all-rounder Shadab Khan Sunday said the team with the strongest bowling unit, capable of stemming the runs on India’s batting-friendly pitches will win the World Cup.

The 24-year-old is leading Pakistan’s spin attack that has come under severe criticism for not taking wickets in the middle overs.

Shadab himself managed just six wickets in five Asia Cup games last month with four coming against outsiders Nepal in a tournament where Pakistan crashed out in Super Four stage.

But Shadab hoped Pakistan’s bowling can stage a comeback at the World Cup which gets underway on Thursday.

“I think the team that has the best bowling will win the World Cup because the pitches will produce high totals,” Shadab told a news conference.

Pakistan suffered a five-wicket loss to New Zealand in their first warm-up match of the tournament on Friday.

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They face Australia in their second warm-up game – also in Hyderabad – on Tuesday before opening their World Cup campaign against the Netherlands at the same venue three days later.

Despite losing frontline pacer Naseem Shah to a shoulder injury, Shadab insists Pakistan still boast a world class attack.

“Of course Naseem will be missed, but our bowlers are world class so if we perform well in bowling then we can achieve the best results.”

Leg-break bowler Shadab, who has 88 wickets from 64 ODI matches, vowed to lift his own game in the seven-week World Cup.

“Maybe there was a mental barrier and I think that will not be there now because of the rest I have had. The past is past and when the World Cup matches come I will be playing with a fresh mindset.”

Shadab also backed out-of-form Fakhar Zaman who was not asked to bat in Friday’s warm-up game.

“Fakhar is an impact player, we all know that,” said Shadab of the left-hander who managed just 65 runs in four Asia Cup innings.

“We have given him mental space and we need to back an impact player like him.”

Shadab also said the players were overwhelmed by the hospitality since their arrival in Hyderabad under tight security on Wednesday.

“It’s been a superb welcome. People coming to the hotel and their hospitality has been fantastic.

“The food is delicious. I fear our fat levels and weight will go over the limit!”

He added: “Hopefully, we get the same hospitality in Ahmedabad when we play India,” said Shadab of Pakistan’s high-voltage game against their arch-rivals on October 14.

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