Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former Pakistan captain Moin Khan is confident that the national team will record their first-ever World Cup victory over India this year.
Pakistan have faced India six times in the World Cup, but have always been on the losing end against their arch-rivals.
However, with Pakistan and India clashing again in Manchester on June 16, Moin feels that Pakistan have what it takes to snap their winless streak.
“This present team is very capable of recording a first win over India in a World Cup because there is talent, there is depth and variety and Sarfraz Ahmed has now gelled the squad well,” Moin said on GTV News as quoted by The New Indian Express.
“I say this because our boys beat them (India) in the Champions Trophy two years back and I just feel that in English conditions in June we have better bowlers.”
In regards to his favourites to win the 2019 World Cup, Moin conceded that India and England are the frontrunners.
“This should be a very interesting World Cup and I am backing Pakistan to beat India,” he said. “Our boys are in good spirits and it is good they will go into the competition after having played ODI matches against South Africa, Australia and England.”
Moin also suggested that Pakistan hold a three-week training camp in England prior to the World Cup in order to allow the players to get acclimatized to the conditions.
“Pakistan has been one team which has done well in England in the last many years and in May-June the weather can be unpredictable and there is moisture in the pitches,” he said.
The 47-year-old also supported Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani’s decision to retain Sarfraz Ahmed as captain.
Prior to Mani’s announcement, there had been rumours that Sarfraz would be replaced as captain due to the controversial comment he made to South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo.
In the 37th over of South Africa’s chase in the second ODI in Durban, the broadcast stump mic picked up Sarfraz speaking in Urdu.
The 31-year-old was heard saying: “Abey kaale, teri ammi aaj kahaan baitheen hain? Kya parwa ke aaye hai aaj?”.
Translated into English, it means: “Hey black guy, where’s your mother sitting today? What [prayer] have you got her to say for you today?”
While Sarfraz was banned for four games by the International Cricket Council (ICC), Mani threw his support behind Sarfraz, which Moin agreed was the right move.
“I don’t know why all this fuss was made about the captaincy after the ban imposed on him for a incident blown out of proportion to my mind,” Moin said. “I have seen Sarfraz lead the team and I [have] known [him] since he was a junior and I have captained and coached him. I can tell you there is no better person to lead the Pakistan team than him now.”