Pakistan Team Preview: Pakistan haven been a part of all the 7 ICC Champions Trophy editions. Their best result being a semi-final berth in 2000, ’04 and ’09. With a refurbished side and with the senior lads, Misbah-Ul-Haq and Younis Khan bidding adieu to the beautiful game, Pakistan can now storm into the tournament with a firm approach, only to win. An assertive Sarfaraz Ahmed will be leading this inexperienced unit. Ahmed led this young brigade in the Caribbean earlier this year. 3-1 series victory in the T20I and 2-1 in the ODI series must have certainly elevated his confidence, as far as captaincy is concerned. In the Champions Trophy though, the conditions are different, the teams participating are much more stronger. Pakistan are ranked 8th in the ICC rankings for teams in One-day Internationals.
ICC CT 2017 Pakistan Team Preview, Squad, Fixtures & Timetable
Pakistan, did manage to slide their way into the top 8 and with that a place in the Champions Trophy. Things would have been different if they’d lost the series in the West Indies. The team did blend to a nicety. Young talents like Shadab Khan and Babar Azam sparkled; with some command. The margin for error is minimal in this years event. The team from Asia is known for being unpredictable .They can clearly play dampeners to some of the stronger squads.
ICC CT 2017 Pakistan Squad
PAKISTAN: Sarfaraz Ahmed(c/wk), Azhar Ali, Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Aamir, Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan, Wahab Riaz, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Fahim Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Imad Wasim, Junaid Khan.
ICC CT 2017 Pakistan Match Fixtures & Timetable
Pakistan is a part of group B. Here is a list of their fixtures.
|June 4||India Vs Pakistan||Edgbaston||9:30 (GMT) | 10:30 (Loacl) | 3:00 Pm (IST)|
|June 7||Pakistan vs South Africa||Edgbaston||12:30 (GMT) | 1:30 (Loacl) | 6:00 Pm (IST)|
|June 12||Srilanka vs Pakistan||CARDIFF||9:30 (GMT) | 10:30 (Loacl) | 3:00 Pm (IST)|
A BETTER RECORD AGAINST INDIA: In the Champions Trophy, the men in blue trail 2-1, in the 3 games played between the two Asian giants. Pakistan take on their arch rivals India at Edgbaston where they were beaten in a rain interfered game in the last edition.
- CHAMPIONS TROPHY 2004 AT EDGBASTON- PAKISTAN BEAT INDIA BY 3 WICKETS.
2) CHAMPIONS TROPHY 2006 AT THE CENTURION- PAKISTAN BEAT INDIA BY 54 RUNS.
3) CHAMPIONS TROPHY 2013 AT EDGBASTON- INDIA BEAT PAKISTAN BY 8 WICKETS.
At Edgbaston, the contest has settled at a parity(1-1). The Odi on the 4th of June will be the tie-breaker at this venue. In India, they have one of the most balanced squads. In South Africa the best ranked team in the world. Sri Lanka do not field their strongest unit and that’ll be one game they can walk in as favourites.
Pakistan have a better head-to-head record against the Indian cricket team. In the 127 games played between the two sides, Pakistan have won 72, India 51, NR 4.
THE BABAR AZAM FACTOR: Babar Azam has been a major force to reckon with and at first sight, looked a quality player. Since 2016, Azam has scored 1092 runs at a healthy average of 60.66. Azam was also the joint quickest to 1000 runs in ODI cricket taking only 21 innings. During the same period, the second leading scorer Sharjeel Khan is 472 runs behind the top run-getter, Babar Azam.
Azam has scored 21.1% of the total Pakistani runs. In the 19 games played, they’ve won 8, lost 11. The current ranking(#8) isn’t a surprise after-all. The onus will majorly lie on Babar Azam. His job will be to keep the score board active and also, negotiate the wicket-taking options the opponents throw at the Pakistan team. Azam’s technique has bailed him out of tricky situations. In England where the white kookaburra does seam a bit, Azam batsmanship will be tested to the limit.
AMIR’S REDEMPTION: The whole world was in a state of shock when Mohammad Amir was suspended from international cricket after he was accused of spot-fixing in the year 2010. The left-arm pacer was at his peak when he was told to let go of the game for 5 years. He had tormented the Australian and the English batsmen for over a couple of months with some delightful bowling.
Amir did serve his ban period and was back in the national squad in the tour against England. In the Asia cup T20I, his spell against India reminded us, why he’s such a world class manoeuvrer. Amir will be leading the bowling attack which has a lot of potential. The capability can’t be questioned, but can Amir forget what had happened in the past and rediscover himself?
MATCHES 32, WICKETS 50, AVERAGE 27.14, ECONOMY RATE 4.89
Since his return Amir has played 17 games and has 25 scalps, 2nd best for a Pakistani during that period.
WATCH OUT FOR THIS KHAN: The 18 year-old Shadab Khan has cemented his place in the Pakistani line-up after impressive spells in the Caribbean. In the T20I series against the West Indies Shadab spun a web around the West Indian batters. At 7.50, he was the most economical bowler and also was the highest wicket-taker with 10 break throughs. But the most impressive trait with his art, is the confidence with which he darts those leg spinners at batsmen. The top-spinner, the googly and the slider. He’s got all in his repertoire.
Pakistan play two asian countries in the group stages. Players comfortable against spin will be tested by this teenage sensation. Rohit Sharma has struggled against the wrist spinners in the recent past. Can Shadab Khan go through his defence? Virat Kohli hasn’t hit his best form yet. India play as many as 5 right handers in the top 7. Can he be the game changer Pakistan are looking for, against the staunch Indian batting? The Champions Trophy will be his litmus test.
Stroll in the park for the Indian and the South African teams or will the Sarfaraz Ahmed led legion cause an upset? Pakistan have always entertained us with exciting cricket and have produced some exceptional talent who’ve gone on to be world beaters.