ABU DHABI: Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur set his team’s goal at breaking into the top four in the one-day rankings as they target another whitewash over the West Indies.
Leading the three-match ODI series 2-0, Pakistan are favourites to win the third and final match in Abu Dhabi today.
They beat an off-colour West Indies by 111 and 59 runs respectively in the first two matches with complete dominance.
Azhar urges nation to be patient
Pakistan will replace West Indies at number eight in rankings if they win 3-0 and displace their opponents to ninth.
Hosts England and the top seven teams in one-day rankings will get direct berths in the 2019 World Cup while the rest vie for the remaining two places in a qualifying tournament.
Arthur, who replaced Waqar Younis as head coach in May this year, said reaching the top four was the goal.
Perseverance the key, says centurion Azam
“We don’t want to think that because we have won the series we can be complacent because we have got so many more goals as a one-day unit to achieve and to be amongst the top four is one of them,” said Arthur, also a former South African and Australia coach.
But for Arthur it’s a work in progress, as Pakistan slumped to ninth after losing to Bangladesh and England twice since the 2015 World Cup.
“We have to continuously push the players as a group. We will keep hammering them so they keep getting better,” he added.
Current West Indies team the weakest ever: Basit
Former Test batsman and head of the junior selection committee Basit Ali believes the touring West Indian team is the ‘worst that he has seen’.
Rasheed hails confident Azam
“This West Indies team is the worst that I have ever seen,” he said. “Pakistan should win the third ODI at a canter and get the eighth spot in the rankings.”
Basit further added that Pakistan should make a few changes for the dead rubber and should include batsman Umar Akmal in place of wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan.
“With the series wrapped up, Pakistan should try and play the players who are available on the bench. I feel there is a place for Umar in the team. Umar is a class act and if given a chance can make a huge difference to the team,” he added.
‘Azhar should be retained as captain’
Basit threw his weight behind Azhar Ali despite the ODI captain’s poor run with the bat in the series.
2nd ODI: Pakistan win by 59 runs, bag series 2-0 against West Indies
“I feel that we can continue with Azhar at the helm of the team; he is a solid player and he would have gained confidence with the wins in the first two games,” said Basit. “T20I skipper Sarfraz Ahmed and Azhar make a great pair and can spur each other on.”
Basit, meanwhile, is of the opinion that the real test for the Men in Green would come in Australia where Pakistan play five ODIs early next year.
A win today will give Pakistan their fourth 3-0 ODI whitewash over the West Indies; the Men in Green haven’t lost a single series against their Caribbean counterparts since losing the three-match series at home 2-0 in 1991.
They have won the last eight bilateral ODI series played between the two teams since the 2-2 draw in the five-match contest staged in the West Indies in 1993.
Courtesy : Express Tribune