Pakistan paceman Haris Rauf, on the eve of the national team’s departure to India, has made a bold claim even before the showpiece, that he sees Pakistan in the final of the ICC World Cup.
“I don’t know which teams will be the semi-finalists of the World Cup but I see Pakistan in the final,” Haris said while addressing a press conference arranged by the Pakistan Cricket Board ahead of the squad’s departure to India scheduled for Tuesday-Wednesday via Dubai.
Two other members of the World Cup squad, namely Abdullah Shafique and Salman Ali Agha, also addressed press conferences separately.
It may be mentioned here that earlier the PCB had announced that Imam-ul-Haq, Hasan Ali, Haris and Salman will address the pressers. However, neither Imam nor Hasan turned up as Haris, Abdullah and Salman came up to answer the questions.
The media personnel had to wait for more than an hour for the players who came late because of the shooting for the ICC in connection with the World Cup promotional campaign.
Haris at the presser said there would be different playing conditions at various World Cup venues in India but added “nothing is a big change as far as cricket is concerned because all of it would be white-ball cricket”.
He said the team management would plan and strategise after watching the playing conditions in India.
Saying that he had not set any individual target for the World Cup, the 29-year-old Haris insisted cricket was a team game and he would try to give his best at the global event.
According to Haris, pacer Hasan, who has featured in just a few ODIs during the past couple of years and played his last ODI back in June 2022, would produce a good show.
“He [Hasan] is an experienced bowler who in the past played cricket alongside the current pace attack [of Pakistan team], and so hopefully he will perform well.”
To a question, Haris dispelled the impression that the Pakistan bowlers were not performing well in big matches.
“In cricket, performance can be up or down on a given day,” he said.
Meanwhile right-handed batter Abdullah who was selected as third opener, said if he got a chance to play he would try to give his best.
“The selection is not in my hands, but if I get a chance I will try to do my best for the team,” the 23-year-old Abdullah said.
Underlining that not just India but all the teams were Pakistan’s opponents at the showpiece, Abdullah said the green-shirts would have to play their best game in every match.
“The team management will chalk out a plan [for the World Cup] and the boys will act according to it,” he stated.
Speaking on the occasion, Salman said Pakistan would have to look ahead after the Asia Cup disaster in Sri Lanka.
“We have to move forward for the World Cup after ignoring that [Asia Cup failure],” the 29-year-old told reporters.
The all-rounder said competing in a World Cup was a dream for every cricketer
“[For me] it is coming true and I am very happy.”
He said both batting and bowling in the middle overs were important phases during the World Cup.
“I know the importance of this fact and will try not to disappoint the team,” Salman said.
“In India, there is always extra pressure for players but I will control it in order to do well.”