Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed says team and coach will put aside bad Australia memories

Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed prepares for a net session ahead of the game against Australia. Picture: Harry Trump/Getty
Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed prepares for a net session ahead of the game against Australia. Picture: Harry Trump/Getty
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Sarfaraz Ahmed insists both his Pakistan side and their coach Mickey Arthur are ready to put their experiences of Australia behind them and focus on their World Cup 
clash today.

Pakistan were turned over 5-0 by the Australians during their last one-day international series in March, while Arthur was the first 
foreign coach to lead the 
Baggy Greens.

He was sacked less than two years into that assignment, just before the 2013 Ashes, but has worked hard to rebuild his reputation with Pakistan.

Captain Sarfaraz was keen to leave both issues in the rearview mirror ahead of Wednesday’s fixture at Taunton, keeping the match itself in focus.

“It’s the past. We’re not thinking about that,” he said of the recent whitewash in the 
United Arab Emirates.

“Actually we are thinking about the game. Our morale is very high, momentum is very high. So hopefully we’ll do very good against them tomorrow, inshallah.”

As for Arthur’s own prior association, the wicketkeeper added: “He’s a wonderful coach, doing very well with us.

“Since the last three years he’s working very hard with our players. For me, for Pakistan, he’s a wonderful coach.”

When Australia played India in their last outing, Sarfaraz’s opposite number Virat Kohli made a point of asking his team’s fans not boo David Warner and Steve Smith.

Instead he encouraged supporters to applaud the pair, who recently returned from ball-tampering bans.

Asked if he would make a similar gesture, Sarfaraz suggested it was unlikely to be necessary.

“I don’t think Pakistani people are doing (things) like that. Pakistan people love cricket and they love support and they love the players,” he said.

Australia, meanwhie have summoned Mitch Marsh to England as World Cup cover for the injured Marcus Stoinis, but have yet to request a formal replacement.

All-rounder Stoinis picked up a side strain while bowling against India and has been ruled out of today’s game. Marsh will now link up with the squad, but will not become a formal part of the 15 unless Cricket Australia formally requests to remove Stoinis.

“Marcus won’t be available, especially for tomorrow, so we’re going to have to juggle around especially that all-rounder spot,” said Australia captain Aaron Finch.

“We’ve got Mitch Marsh flying over just as a bit of a precaution. He was meant to fly over with the Australia A side on Friday, he’s just coming a couple of days early as a bit of a precaution, if Stoinis doesn’t recover quickly enough or doesn’t respond to treatment well enough over the next few days.”

Finch, whose side have won two and lost one of their games so far, expressed uncertainty over Stoinis’ prognosis and admitted that his absence made team selection a trickier proposition.

“I’m not exactly sure on how many games he’ll miss. That’s why Mitch is flying over,” he added.

“It’s still being assessed. And over the next couple of days we’ll have a clearer picture on what that looks like.

“We’ve got to find a few more overs now, whether we play the extra batter or extra bowler, we’ll wait and see, and especially tomorrow with the conditions. That’s something we’ve got to juggle with.”

Finch admitted the recent poor weather in England was beginning to play on his mind, potentially altering in-game calculations as well as the state of the group stage table.

“I think it might play a huge part in the next few days. Next week it starts fine and looks good across the country for the remainder of the tournament. But it’s important that you get early wins on the board because if they do play a part you don’t want to be on the wrong end of a couple of washouts that might leave you just outside that top four.”