Pakistan have the core for more | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 20, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:35 AM, June 20, 2017

Pakistan have the core for more

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Pakistan's Champions Trophy success not only defied the odds but also suggested the mercurial side have found the nucleus of a squad capable of returning to England in 2019 confident of claiming a second 50-over World Cup title.

The South Asians arrived in Britain for the eight-team, one-day international tournament as the lowest-ranked side, packed with players still trying to find their feet at the highest level and given little hope of emerging victorious.

Their confidence was dented when they suffered a thumping loss to arch-rivals and neighbours India in their opening match of the campaign and the limp performance put Pakistan's chances of reaching the semi-finals in severe jeopardy.

"After the (first) India match, one thing I said to my boys was 'the tournament hasn't finished yet'," skipper Sarfraz Ahmed told reporters. "It's a very important boost for us to win this. When we arrived here, we just played like we have nothing to lose."

The country has a tradition of producing exciting fast bowling talent and 25-year-old Mohammad Amir and Junaid Khan, 27, can be expected to spearhead the pace attack at the next World Cup.

Add deadly accurate medium paceman Hasan Ali, the player of the Champions Trophy, and 18-year-old leg-spinner Shadab Ali to the mix, and Pakistan have a bowling unit with enough menace to trouble any side in the world.

With Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman also coming of age, Pakistan's batting lineup appears to have the right blend of youth and experience, boosted by the solidity of former captains Azhar Ali, Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik.

"We've got two years until the 2019 World Cup. We've got the monkey off our back in terms of qualifying. We now have two years to identify a squad we want to take forward and give them enough game time. That's the aim at the moment," coach Mickey Arthur said.

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