Leg-spinner Shadab Khan, who was only recently cleared to play in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019, after recovering from a viral infection, believes that Pakistan will be the team to beat in the upcoming tournament.
Shadab was ruled of the Ireland and England tours due to a virus identified during a routine medical check-up. However, Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed confirmed the bowler's fitness a couple of days ago.
Shadab, who has been his team's first-choice spinner, said that Pakistan are no different from the other teams participating in the marquee event. He did admit to Pakistan's bowling not being up to the mark, but dismissed any concerns regarding the same or their recent results against England. "Our team has 100% skills to do well in the World Cup. They are struggling, [but] so are other teams in many ways. They are playing good cricket overall," he said.
"Bowlers are not doing well, they are actually not in the rhythm required, but once they start clicking, we will start winning games. When you are missing your four key players, it becomes increasingly tough. But there is a difference between pressure for a [bilateral] series and a World Cup.
"Nowadays, you have to take wickets because cricket has become very fast and even 350 isn't a par score. Yes, we have been struggling with the ball in middle overs, but the way the batsmen are performing, it's a good sign."
The 20-year-old, who has taken 47 wickets in 34 one-day internationals at an economy rate of 4.80, has already had the experience of succeeding in a big tournament: Shadab was a part of the Pakistan squad that won the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy in England.
There is a difference between pressure for a (normal bilateral) series and a World Cup.
"Now, I am heading towards the World Cup. Since we are going there regularly from the last three years, it isn't really difficult to acclimatise with the condition. All I have to do is get in my rhythm. Otherwise, you are mentally prepared for the challenge," he said.
"I have already played in a competitive tournament, the Champions Trophy, which we won. Even though we lost few games, I know how to adapt to a big tournament."
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