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Pakistan ‘grateful’ for India wake-up call ahead of World Cup

'We don't get to play some of the best players in the world very often,' says head coach Grant Bradburn
Pakistan head coach Grant Bradburn speaks to the media after Pakistan’s heavy defeat to India in the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup on September 11, 2023. Photo via PCB
Pakistan head coach Grant Bradburn speaks to the media after Pakistan’s heavy defeat to India in the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup on September 11, 2023. Photo via PCB

Pakistan’s heavy defeat to India in the Asia Cup was a “timely reminder” for the team to get their act together before next month’s World Cup, head coach Grant Bradburn said.

Babar Azam’s men suffered a crushing 228-run loss to India on Monday in a rain-hit Super Four clash of the 50-over tournament, a prelude to next month’s World Cup in India.

India posted 356-2 in Colombo after rain forced the match into a reserve day and then bowled out Pakistan for 128 in 32 overs to register their biggest ODI victory over their arch-rivals.

“My gut feeling is that we are grateful for the gift that has been this last two days,” Bradburn told reporters after the drubbing.

“We don’t get to play some of the best players in the world very often,” he added.

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“We haven’t lost a game of cricket for the last three months, so it’s a timely reminder that we need to turn up every day, put in our best on the park, and it’s actually a gift in the last two days we haven’t done that.”

Pakistan elected to bowl after Azam won the toss but the team soon lost their grip after a 121-run opening stand between skipper Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill.

Virat Kohli and KL Rahul hit 122 and 111 respectively to extend India’s domination in an unbeaten stand of 233.

“We lost at all facets of the game,” Bradburn said. “No excuses, we weren’t good enough in the last two days.”

Pakistan’s bowling, led by Shaheen Shah Afridi, had rattled India’s top order last week in an Asia Cup group game, bowling them out for 266 before the match was abandoned because of rain.

But Rohit, Gill, Rahul and Kohli came roaring back in the Super Four contest to take the attack to the bowlers.

Bradburn, a former New Zealand international who played seven Tests and 11 ODIs, said Pakistan will learn from the batting assault.

“Certainly wasn’t a surprise. Everyone’s seen how lethal our bowling attack is and good teams will counteract that,” he said.

Azam started the tournament with 151 against minnows Nepal but Bradburn said Pakistan’s batting still lacked firepower.

“Our batting unit hasn’t clicked in the past month and again, that is a positive sign,” he said.

“We have full trust in them. We are very consistent with our selection. We know they will come right.”

Pakistan next play Sri Lanka on Thursday.

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