#CWC15 PREVIEW: Pakistan’s clash with India will be litmus test for chances

Pakistan have suffered a number of blows to their ICC Cricket World Cup chances even before they have arrived in Australia, with three senior bowling options ruled out through either injury or illegal actions.

While fast bowler and veteran Umar Gul is out due to injury, star spinner Saeed Ajmal is not travelling having been found to use an illegal bowling action, which is also why Mohammad Hafeez has been prevented from bowling his off-spin in the event.

Hafeez has still made their final 15 as a specialist batsman.

At least Pakistan will head Down Under with history on their side. The last time the World Cup was played in Australia and New Zealand in 1992, they beat England in the final.

Then captain Imran Khan famously told his players to play like cornered tigers in that event, and a similar attitude will be needed this time around when Misbah-ul-Haq leads his side for his ODI swan song.

Amazingly, the 40-year-old batsman, who debuted in this format in 2002, plays in only his second World Cup, with his first being on the sub-continent in 2011.

Another surprising Misbah statistic is that in 153 ODIs as of time of writing, he has never scored a century despite his undoubted, understated quality.

Legendary Pakistani batsman Javed Miandad recently questioned the lack of experience in their squad, further highlighted by the omission of all-rounder Shoaib Malik.

Younis Khan, however, will provide the glue that holds their batting order together. He is likely to need a standout tournament if Pakistan are to go deep and challenge the favoured teams.

Their bowling department is stocked with seamers, including 7ft one inch Mohammad Irfan.

Badger Predicts

Have not got a clue! You just never know what you are getting with Pakistan.

Their Pool B opener against India at Adelaide on February 15 is key. If they win that, momentum and confidence will build. If they lose, they could already be on the plane home in their own minds. Likely quarter-final exit if you had to predict.

Squad

Misbah-ul-Haq, Ahmed Shahzad, Younis Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Haris Sohail, Sarfraz Ahmed, Umar Akmal, Sohaib Maqsood, Shahid Afridi, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Khan, Ehsan Adil, Sohail Khan, Wahab Riaz.

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