Opening match against India is important: PCB chief

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Karachi, Feb 6: The chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Shaharyar Khan has wants the national team to settle down into a rhythm before their opening ICC World Cup match against arch-rivals India in Adelaide on February 15.

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"Yes, I have concerns about the team’s performance and I hope that the team management get things right in the warm-up matches," Shaharyar said on Geo Super channel.

The opening match against India is important: PCB chief

"The opening match against India is very important and significant for us and the team needs to ready itself for the match by finding rhythm in the warm-up games," he added.

Pakistan will play warm-up games against Bangladesh and England before their lung opener against India. Pakistan lost the two match ODI series in New Zealand and also two practice games to raise concerns about its chances in the World Cup in the cricket community.

Cricket fans and former players were shaken by the heavy defeat suffered in the second ODI when New Zealand blasted 369 runs. Shaharyar also made it clear that he had advised the tour selection committee in Australia to wait for a day and consider including off-spinner, Saeed Ajmal in the side.

The PCB Chairman yesterday approved the inclusion of paceman Rahat Ali in the side to replace the injured Junaid Khan. Rahat was a surprise inclusion since his name was not included in the preliminary list of 30 probables for the World Cup.

"We are expecting the report on Saeed's (Ajmal) bowling assessment test to come on Friday and I told the tour selection committee they can wait for a day and see what the outcome of Saeed's test and if he is cleared he can also be considered as a replacement for Junaid," Shaharyar said.

The PCB chief said however the tour selectors had insisted they didn't need a spinner and wanted a fast bowler to replace left-arm pacer Junaid. The veteran administrator was also candid about the fact that the tour selectors had not suggested the name of discarded fast bowler, Muhammad Sami or he would have given it serious consideration.

"They sent me four names, Sohail Tanvir, Rahat Ali, Muhammad Talha ad Umar Gul and their choice was Tanvir. If they had also suggested the name of Sami, my decision on Junaid’s replacement could have been different," he added.

He made it clear that he had rejected the name of Tanvir because of his form recently and plus his fielding issues.

"We can't carry many average fielders in the side they are already a few like Muhammad Irfan," he said.

He confirmed that the PCB had asked for a delay of a day or two from the International Cricket Council for Muhammad Hafeez to take his official bowling assessment test in Brisbane.

Hafeez was due to take the test on February 6 after he was suspended from bowling in international cricket by the ICC in November.

PTI

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