Pakistan’s Saud Shakeel focused on Australia after India setback

Pakistan’s Saud Shakeel during an interview with Geo News in Bengaluru, India, on October 17, 2023. — Reporter

BENGALURU: Pakistan’s middle-order batter Saud Shakeel said Tuesday his side is focused on the upcoming World Cup 2023 clash against Australia after suffering a defeat against their arch-rivals India.

Pakistan were bundled out for 191 against India at Ahmedabad, with the Men In Blue easily chasing the meagre target to improve their World Cup record 8-0.

The Men In Green now face Australia on October 20 in Bengaluru, with the Kangaroos just gaining momentum after recording their first win in three World Cup matches against Sri Lanka.

Speaking to Geo News ahead of the clash, Shakeel termed the loss against India as “a bad day” and “a thing of the past”, and said that the team is focused on their next match and intends to improve their position on the points table.

“We played good cricket in the start and won two matches at the beginning [of the tournament],” the middle-order batsman said, but admitted that it’s disappointing to lose such a big game — that too against India.

“We have left what happened in Ahmedabad there and have come to Bengaluru with a rejuvenated spirit,” he added.

Australia too didn’t have a good start to the World Cup and they will be under pressure as well, Shakeel said while responding to a question, adding that the team will try to play at their strength against the Kangaroos.

The left-handed batsman also said that he has worked hard to prepare himself for white-ball cricket and practised in accordance with the number he had expected to play at.

“The goal is to go back [home] after winning the World Cup […] I intend to give a match-winning performance and contribute to the team’s win,” Shakeel said.

“[We] miss our [Pakistani] crowd in Indian stadiums,” the middle-order batsman said while responding to a question.

Schedule of Pakistan’s remaining matches

October 20 – vs Australia in Bengaluru

October 23 – vs Afghanistan in Chennai

October 27 – vs South Africa in Chennai

October 31 – vs Bangladesh in Kolkata

November 4 – vs New Zealand Bengaluru (Day match)

November 11 – vs England in Kolkata

The day matches which will start at 10:00am Pakistan Standard Time (PST) while all other matches will be day-night fixtures starting at 01:30pm (PST).

If Pakistan qualify for the semi-finals, they will play in Kolkata.

If India qualifies for the semi-finals, they will play in Mumbai unless playing against Pakistan, in which case they will play in Kolkata.

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