Strong performance in Champions Trophy crucial for 2019 WC qualification: Azhar Ali

Karachi : Pakistan ODI skipper Azhar Ali has vowed to put up a strong performance in the next summer’s Champions Trophy in order to directly qualify for the 2019 World Cup.

Ali said his side would try to win as many matches as they could in the ‘crucial event’ in order to improve their ODI ranking and to directly qualify for the upcoming World Cup.

“A lot of ODI cricket is scheduled in the lead up to the ICC Champions Trophy, and it will be our best chance to learn, improve and win as many matches as possible so that we arrive in England and Wales next year fully prepared and ready for the challenge,” the Pakistan skipper said.

Azhar further hoped that his side would work on their weaknesses and would back their strengths in time to win the trophy.

“The ICC Champions Trophy is one trophy which is missing from our cabinet. It has earned the status as one of the most demanding, challenging and intense competitions. So, it will be nice if we can put our hands on this piece of silverware next year,” he added.

Pakistan are currently languishing down at the ninth spot in the latest ODI rankings and that they could face a qualifying round in the 2019 World Cup for the first time ever if they would not be able to pull themselves out of the slump by next year.

The eight top ranked sides as on 30 September 2015, led by world champion Australia and defending champion India, will feature in the 18-day tournament from 1 to 18 June 2017 during which 15 matches will be played in Birmingham, Cardiff and London (The Oval). (ANI)