Pakistan coach Grant Bradburn wants to see his team play an aggressive brand of cricket when it starts the build-up for the World Cup with a three-match ODI series against Afghanistan next week.
The series begins in Sri Lanka on Aug. 22, followed by the Asia Cup in Pakistan and Sri Lanka before the World Cup in India, starting on Oct. 5.
“We’re not looking to sit back and wait for bowlers to bowl badly, we’re looking to be aggressive,” Bradburn said in Lahore on Wednesday, a day before the team departs for Sri Lanka. “We’re training to use our skills. We’re looking to use those skills in the game. It’s not a request from coaches to players, it’s a necessity for them to be in the team because that’s the way the game is moving forward globally … above all, we want to play winning cricket.”
Pakistan hasn’t played white-ball cricket since last hosting New Zealand for the ODI series in April, but most of the players selected for the series against Afghanistan are presently playing T20 white-ball league cricket.
Pakistan showed glimpses of its aggressiveness during the 4-1 victory over New Zealand at home and also in a 2-0 away win over Sri Lanka in the test series in July.
Fast bowlers Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf, alongside legspinners Shadab Khan and Usama Mir, played in The Hundred in England. Captain Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Haris, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Nawaz and Iftikhar Ahmed featured in the Lanka Premier League to get used to the playing conditions in Sri Lanka.
“It’s good that some of the boys have been getting cricket in The Hundred and in the LPL,” Bradburn said. “It’s been excellent that they’ve been able to play cricket.”
Bradburn was appointed Pakistan coach in May, nearly a month after Mickey Arthur was slotted in as team director by previous Pakistan Cricket Board managing committee head Najam Sethi.
Arthur, who is serving as head of cricket at Derbyshire, will be with the Pakistan team during the series against Afghanistan and also for few games of the Asia Cup before he travels with the team to India for the World Cup.
Bradburn said he is very much “aligned” with Arthur to instill aggressiveness in the Pakistan team.
“We’re one voice and we’ve been very good coaching associates and friends for a long, long time,” Bradburn said. “Mickey and I communicate daily … he’s very much part of the new direction that we’re wanting to take this team. We’re really looking forward to having Mickey on board, but for me, he’s on board every day anyway.”
Bradburn and Arthur’s aggressive approach has also got the approval of chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq as they have planned to be more proactive during the middle overs of the 50-over game.
“We’re working hard on developing some skills to really attack that middle over period with some hostility — not only with the bat, but with the ball and with our field placings as well,” Bradburn said. “The selection has been very clear and with Mr. Inzi (Inzamam-ul-Haq) coming on board, it’s wonderful to have such experience … he’s very much aligned with the thinking of the current selection panel and we’re very comfortable with the lineup that we’ve selected.”
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