TAUNTON, England: In a cramped indoor training area here at the County Ground, Pakistani players took turns as Mickey Arthur and the team’s coaching staff hurled some short-pitched stuff at them.
Wet and cold weather had forced the Pakistani players to take their training session ahead of Wednesday’s World Cup game against Australia indoors. It was good that only six of the Pakistani players had decided to turn up for training otherwise they would have found it tough to accommodate the entire team.
Led by skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed, the group of Pakistani players who took part in the training session included Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Imam-ul-Haq, Asif Ali and Mohammad Hasnain.
Asif Ali was the first to take a place in the nets and was quickly at the receiving end of some short stuff. Babar Azak was next followed by Imam-ul-Haq.
It was apparent that Arthur and batting Grant Flower wanted the Pakistani batsmen to be ready for a barrage of bouncers on a lively looking wicket in Taunton. Pakistan were found napping in their opening World Cup game against West Indies in Nottingham last week when they were bounced out for just 105 and Arthur clearly wanted to make sure that they won’t crumble against a pace-heavy Australian bowling attack on Wednesday.
Soon after the training session concluded, Arthur and Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed walked out in the field to inspect the wicket. After some persistent drizzling the weather had cleared a bit around 3pm here and the ground staff had shaved some of the grass from the wicket. But both Arthur and Sarfraz must have noted that the wicket still bore a greenish look.
“We don’t really know how the wicket is going to behave,” Sarfraz said on Tuesday.
“I mean this is the first time we will be playing here. When you’ve played at a venue in the past you know a lot about the place but we don’t know much about this ground.”
The good news for fans of both teams is that after a series of wet days, Taunton is expecting better weather on Wednesday. There is still a chance of some drizzle here and there but there is a big possibility that they won’t affect the match much.