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Plenty of Positives for Pakistan Despite Series Defeat: Mahmood

Pakistan might have already conceded the One-Day International series to Australia but Azhar Mahmood, the bowling coach, feels this series has provided them with a platform to test their bench strength ahead of the 2019 World Cup.

Cricketnext Staff |March 29, 2019, 11:45 AM IST
Plenty of Positives for Pakistan Despite Series Defeat: Mahmood

Pakistan might have already conceded the One-Day International series to Australia but Azhar Mahmood, the bowling coach, feels this series has provided them with a platform to test their bench strength ahead of the 2019 World Cup.

Azhar is pleased with the way Usman Shinwari, Haris Sohail and Mohammad Rizwan have performed in this series.

"There are a lot of positives for us, like Shinwari is back, he has bowled really well and (so has) Junaid. We have got a young find in the form of Hasnain. We are trying to give bench strength more opportunities to try and play international games,” he said after Pakistan lost the third ODI by 80 runs.

Pakistan have rested six key players, including skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed, for this series and Azhar said this has given them an opportunity to look out for back-up players for the mega event.

"We know what our main strength is in batting and bowling. The regular guys are going to return, but we thought this series is a good opportunity to test the capabilities of youngsters," he said.

"We are trying different combinations keeping the World Cup in mind. If we play only our main strength and then someone gets injured, we won’t have any options left. This series was our best chance to test bench strength."

Echoing Azhar's sentiments, stand-in captain Shoaib Malik explained, "We are trying to give all the players chances, so selection committee and team management have a better picture in front of them. Every game is important. We have two more opportunities. If we win two games, we have something in our pocket."

Lastly, Azhar also heaped heavy praise on Australian captain Aaron Finch who has been in outstanding form in this series, with scores of 116, 153* and 90 in the first three encounters.

"I have played with him in Surrey, so I know when he is on song, he is difficult to stop. He is having the purple patch of his life. He knows when to attack and when to defend. He is a class player," he said.

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