Mentally prepared but need to find rhythm for World Cup - Shadab
Pakistan legspinner Shadab Khan believes his only challenge ahead of the World Cup will be to find rhythm as he is mentally prepared for what lies ahead. The leggie missed out on the tour to Ireland and England, which was expected to serve as preparation for Pakistan for the upcoming World Cup, due to a virus found in his blood during a routine medical checkup. He has recovered from that and is expected to be a part of the side for the mega tournament.
"I was always very much hopeful because the viral found in my blood was at its initial stage," said Shadab. "With two weeks of medicine, it's clear out of my blood. Now I am heading towards World Cup. Since we are going there regularly from last 3 years and 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.
"I have already played in a competitive tournament - champions trophy - which we won. Even though we lost few games, I know how to adapt myself in a big tournament."
Shadab was initially picked in Pakistan's provisional 15-member squad. But after doubts over his health, the threat of him missing the World Cup loomed large. Speaking about the situation, the legspinner said, "When you suddenly get to know that you have viral in your blood so naturally I got frustrated but my teammates and friends have been very supportive.
"I had a strong belief that whatever happens, happens for a reason and for good. I was tensed up on the first day but then I told my friends that whatever happened it is done and if anything good happens it will happen. So I asked them to avoid talking to me about it."
In Shadab's absence, Yasir Shah got a chance to make a case for himself. However, after a disappointing performance in the second ODI, he was dropped for the third game. Without their full-strength bowling attack in play, they lost both their matches despite scoring over 350 runs in each game. However, Shadab chose not to delve too deep into Pakistan's concerns but added that taking wickets would be crucial for them if they have to win matches in England in the upcoming World Cup.
"Nowadays you have to take wickets because cricket became very fast and even 350 isn't a par score," he said. "Yes, we have been struggling with the ball in middle over but the way batting is performing its a good sign. No doubt we lost the games but we put a good fight and played competitive cricket which gives a lot of boost to the team. Pakistan anyway still hold an ability to win the following games.
"Our team has 100 percent 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. Bowlers are not doing well, they are actually not in the rhythm required but once they start clicking we will start winning the games. When you missing out your four key players, it becomes increasingly tough. But there is a difference between pressure for a (normal bilateral) series and a World Cup. So I am optimistic about our chances there and we will try to win the World Cup."