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Pakistan cricket team departed for London overnight to take part in a bilateral series against England next month, followed by the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 starting from May 30.
The World Cup squad, led by Sarfaraz Ahmed, took off from Lahore in the early hours of Tuesday. The team will reach London via Dubai later today.
Pakistan will play three warm-up matches before taking on joint-hosts England in a five-match one-day series and a Twenty20.
The 1992 World Cup winners start their campaign against the West Indies in Nottingham on May 31.
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) April 22, 2019
Sarfaraz, addressing a press conference at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium on Monday, said he would prefer his side to go into the tournament under the radar.
“Look, when we go as favourites, then it´s a problem, but if we go as underdogs then other teams feel the danger, so I think being underdogs is good for us and eases the pressure,” he said.
Playing down the hype surrounding the high-voltage Pakistan vs India clash scheduled for Manchester on June 16, Sarfaraz said all games are important.
“For us all nine matches are important so we will take every match as a match against India,” he said of Pakistan´s bitter rivals — who have won all six of their previous World Cup clashes.
But Pakistan took the Champions Trophy against India in 2017 with a stunning 180-run victory in the final.
“We have beaten India in a bigger event recently so we will have that advantage,” said Sarfraz.
All ten teams will play each other in the tournament starting on May 30 with England taking on South Africa in the opening fixture. The top four teams will qualify for the semi-finals.
Sarfaraz said the theme of Pakistan´s World Cup mission is “we have, we will”, citing the team´s previous glories.
Along with the Champions Trophy two years ago, Pakistan won the 1992 World Cup and the 2009 World Twenty20.
Pakistan have named two extra players in their squad for the five-match one-day series against England, with paceman Mohammad Amir and batsman Asif Ali in addition to the 15 for the World Cup.
The team has until May 23 to finalise its squad for the tournament.