by: Atika Mehboob TN Sport Pakistan:
Pakistan’s cricket coach, Grant Bradburn, remains steadfast amid swirling rumors of players going unpaid for five months. He emphasized the team’s collective will to rejuvenate their World Cup journey, which is currently on shaky grounds.
Teetering on the brink of a group-stage departure, Pakistan’s pathway to the semi-finals rests heavily on their upcoming clash with Bangladesh on Tuesday.
Beyond their on-field performance, with four losses in their six matches, the team’s World Cup journey has been overshadowed by talk of missed payments and delayed central contract agreements.
Addressing the media on Monday, Bradburn stated, “Representing Pakistan and being a part of this squad is a tremendous honor. Our primary focus is to prepare effectively, perform to the best of our abilities, and fulfill the aspirations of our supporters.”
In response to payment concerns, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) clarified that contracts have been dispatched to India for player signatures. This, they claim, should facilitate the due payments.
Bradburn, a former New Zealand all-rounder, conveyed the team’s disappointment in their World Cup performance thus far. While they secured victories against the Netherlands and Sri Lanka, losses to India, Australia, Afghanistan, and South Africa have dented their hopes.
Bradburn lamented, “Our ambition was to be in command of our destiny at this juncture, but that hasn’t materialized. This setback pains the team, but we’re determined to excel in the upcoming pool matches and then hope that fate favors our semi-final prospects.”
Bradburn steered clear of any criticism towards umpire Alex Wharf for a contentious leg-before decision in Pakistan’s nail-biting match against South Africa. The decision was later upheld as “umpire’s call” in a review, paving the way for South Africa’s thrilling one-wicket triumph in Chennai.
Bradburn reiterated, “Our approach is to concentrate on elements within our control. Umpires govern the game, and while certain decisions may not go our way, that’s the essence of cricket.”
Despite Bangladesh’s shaky World Cup performance, losing five out of their six matches, Bradburn stressed Pakistan’s high regard for their opponents. Historically, Pakistan has triumphed in 33 ODIs against Bangladesh, facing defeat in only five. Yet, recent encounters show Bangladesh clinching four out of their last six matches against Pakistan.
Bradburn concluded, “Bangladesh boasts a formidable squad, but we’re fully geared up for the challenge.”