Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has said that his side will take a bullish approach to the Champions Trophy in England as they have “nothing to lose”.
Pakistan, who currently sit in eighth place on the ODI rankings, have not won the Champions Trophy before and nor have they made the final since the inaugural edition of the tournament in 1998.
“Definitely we are very hopeful and really excited about this tournament,” he said. “We are No. 8, so we have nothing to lose. So that’s why I told the players just play your natural game.”
Sarfraz was only made ODI captain in February when Azhar Ali stepped down from the position.
In his first ODI series as skipper, Pakistan defeated the West Indies 2-1, but it should be noted that the men from the Caribbean failed to qualify for the Champions Trophy.
“Initially we played a good series in West Indies,” Sarfraz said. “It was a very tough series for us. But a lot of our players performed really well in all forms, all departments, batting or bowling. So we’re really hopeful to perform [in] this tournament and we’ll try to win this trophy as well.”
Sarfraz is looking to start the tournament on a high by beating arch-rivals India, who they will meet on June 4 at Edgbaston. But besides India, Sarfraz conceded that his side will also have to do well against South Africa and Sri Lanka, who are in their group.
“We are very hopeful about the India match but our aim is to first perform well in our opening practice match as a team unit,” the 30-year-old said. “Obviously, performing against India is important because the whole nation is expecting us to win against them, so we will give our full 100 percent in the ground.
“We will try our fullest to be seen fighting. All players [are] giving their heart out in each and every department of the game and when we’re together giving our best and keeping our focus, result will surely come good.”
The Karachi native also pointed out that the team have left no stone unturned going into the tournament.
“We had a six-day camp here before the tournament and we used it as best we could for our practice in fielding, batting and bowling,” Sarfraz said. “These upcoming warm-up matches are very important and it will give us a fair idea about the pitch and the conditions. Our wish is to win the mini-World Cup and we are all in for it and we will try to give our nation a gift for Eid. “