Dubai: Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed on Saturday said that they will be experimenting with different combinations during the five-match ODIs against South Africa as they aim to strike a right balance ahead of the 2019 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.
With the World Cup set to take place in a few months in England and Wales, Pakistan will use South Africa series and their away tour against England to polish their preparations for the mega tournament, starting May 30. They are currently fifth on the ICC ODI team rankings.
“We have to identify our strengths ahead of the World Cup for which we will be trying different combinations in this series,” ICC quoted Ahmed, as saying.
Pakistan went onto reach the World Cup final in England in1999. However, the team last won the World Cup in 1992.
After being comprehensively beaten in the Test series, Pakistan look for a change in fortunes in the shorter formats of the game. Ahmed believes that batting first and posting big totals will be the key to their success.
“It is necessary to get runs while batting in the first innings. If a touring team is able to do that, they win matches,” he said. “Four of our five matches are day/night encounters. The teams prefer to bat first here, like India did [last year], as it gets difficult to bat under lights,” he said.
After being dropped from the playing XI for the third Test due to his failure in the first two, Fakhar Zaman will be under the focus during the ODI series. Ahmed, however, has backed the left-handed batsman to do the business against South Africa.
“Fakhar Zaman is a very important player for us and his target is to play his natural game, which is quite similar to how David Warner plays or how Virender Sehwag or Shahid Afridi played in the past. I have told him that he needs to stay at the wicket more because his presence scares the bowlers,” he said.
The first of five ODIs between South Africa and Pakistan will be played at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on January 19.