LONDON-Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed has warned other teams to be wary of his side and has said that they won’t be underdogs at next year’s ICC World Cup.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the fixtures list for the upcoming mega event on Wednesday and a host of mouth-watering clashes have come to the fore including Pakistan’s match against India on June 16 at Old Trafford, Manchester.

Pakistan would open up their World Cup campaign with a match against the West Indies and Sarfraz is confident his side would be ready for the challenge.

“The World Cup is important for all teams. Our first match is against the West Indies. The first match is always important, so all our preparations are geared towards that match and the tournament. We are trying to iron out our deficiencies during this period,” he said.

Talking about how Pakistan generally enter tournaments as underdogs, Sarfraz said that won’t be the case this time around and the team’s recent win in the Champions Trophy is testament to their strength. “Pakistan always go into tournaments as underdogs but I don’t think it will be the same this time because people remember that we have won the Champions Trophy,” he said.

The 30-year-old also said that the World Cup is an extremely important event for players to leave their mark and that is exactly what he wants his side to do — leave their mark.

“The World Cup is one event in which the world is watching you and everyone is following you. The importance of players is realised during this crunch time. The World Cup gives birth to heroes and superstars,” he said.

According to the captain, his men are preparing well and Pakistan is developed into a good team.

The skipper was of the view that the regular tours to England would prove beneficial for his side during the World Cup, as the team would get used to the conditions easily.

Meanwhile, head coach Mickey Arthur is eagerly waiting to his first World Cup with Pakistan. “We can’t wait for the World Cup. We’ve started our planning, I’m sure, like every international team has. Even though we have got so much cricket from now till the World Cup, before we blink, we are going to be at the World Cup.”

“So everything we do at the moment is preparation leading up to the World Cup so that we can hit the tournament fully prepared and ready to go,” he added. Speaking about the Pakistani fan base in England, Arthur said ‘it is a home away from home for us.’

Aamir aims to become World Cup’s best bowler

With World Cup 2019 just looming around the corner, Pakistan fast bowler Mohamamd Asmir has revealed his goal to emerge as the best bowler in the tournament.

“It is a dream for any cricketer to play in the World Cup. It will be the first for me and I will try to do my best. It’s like a dream come true. Representing your country and playing a big ICC tournament, one has to be lucky for all this and I consider myself a lucky person. Players prepare two to four years for a big event but then get injured just before the tournament,” he was quoted by ICC as saying.

Pakistan’s top bowler was of the view that he would give his all for the country in the World Cup, and play a vital role in his team’s success in the tournament.

“I will try to give my best in all matches of the World Cup. It’s such a big event. First of all I wish Pakistan win and then that I should be the best bowler in the tournament,” he added.

Speaking about the issue of workload, Amir said that the rotation policy of the PCB has proved beneficial for the fast bowler. “We have a good rotation policy and that’s why I’m well prepared for the tournament.”

Sharing about the 1999 World Cup experience where Pakistan lost to Australia in the final, Amir, who was just a kid back then, said it felt like ‘the end of the world’. However, Pakistan cricket team performed really well during that tournament despite all the criticism it received after the loss, he said.