Pakistan expect to face plenty of bouncers from England after struggling against short-pitched fast bowling from the West Indies in their World Cup opener, coach Azhar Mahmood said on Sunday.
Several Pakistan batsmen were undone by the aggression of the West Indies’ fast bowlers as they collapsed to 105 all out and a seven-wicket defeat at Trent Bridge on Friday, and they now return to Nottingham to face in-form hosts and favorites England, who opened the World Cup with a 104-run thrashing of South Africa at The Oval.
Hashim Amla was ruled out of South Africa’s match against Bangladesh with a head injury after being struck on the helmet by England paceman Jofra Archer and Mahmood knows Pakistan can expect more of the same. “We didn’t handle the short ball really well and we practiced a lot, and we know it will come,” Mahmood told reporters at Trent Bridge on Sunday. “When teams come from the subcontinent, the other teams will use those sort of tactics,” added Mahmood, a former all-rounder with English counties Surrey and Kent. “All the teams will bowl short against us so we are practicing, and we’ve done it before, so I think we need to move on and concentrate on the next game.”
Pakistan have now lost their last 11 completed one-day internationals—a run that includes a 4-0 series defeat by England last month. No side in world cricket, however, has the ability to transform their fortunes quite as quickly as Pakistan—a point they proved during the 2017 Champions Trophy when, after an abject start, they beat hosts England on the way to winning the tournament.
“We can beat them [England]. It would not be an upset. We have the ability to beat them,” insisted Mahmood, who said Asif Ali could make his tournament debut against England. “If you see the one-day series, we were not that far from England. They scored 1,430-odd runs, we scored 1,370 runs, so we were 70 runs short. Our fielding was not up to the mark and we give an extra bonus because we had an inexperienced bowling line-up. They need to learn from their mistakes.”
Monday’s pitch will be the same strip on which England amassed an ODI record 481 for six against Australia last year, as well as the second highest total on that list, 444 against Pakistan in 2016. “[England] have skill, and they are the best batting line-up,” said Mahmood. “The 480 pitch has been a world-record pitch, but they have to play 300 balls to get to that record. We have to bowl 10 good balls to get 10 wickets, so we have ability and the skills to do that.”