ISLAMABAD: Despite Junaid Khan’s costly blunder in Thursday’s third ODI loss to Australia, Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur has said that the paceman is not a serial no-ball offender.
Australia should have been in all sorts of trouble at 3-46 after debutant batsman Peter Handscomb was caught at slip in the
11th over. But Handscomb, who was yet to score at the time, earned a reprieve when replays showed Junaid had overstepped the mark.
Four overs later, Junaid no-balled again in a delivery that saw Handscomb dropped at point. Handscomb ended up making 82 as
Australia cruised to their victory target of 264 with seven wickets and 30 balls to spare.
Arthur said his team can’t afford to commit such simple errors if they are to have a legitimate chance of winning the series. But
he was careful not to come down too heavily on Khan.
“He is not such much of a serial offender,” cricket.com.au quoted Arthur as saying.
“Junaid was battling into the Fremantle Doctor (breeze) a little bit, so that caused him to over stride. But it is still no excuse. We have got to be keeping our foot behind the line,” he said.
Pakistan is down to 2-1 in the series and must win Sunday’s fourth ODI to keep the five-match series alive. In a massive boost
for the visitors, captain Azhar Ali is set to return after missing two games with a hamstring injury.
“He had a good hit (on Thursday), and ran between wickets with the pads on,” Arthur said. “He had a good field too. We are
confident we will get Azhar back for Sunday’s ODI. I am looking forward to having him back.”
Arthur was confident his team can turn around their deficit, especially if their spinners can weave their magic. “We go to two
grounds now where that suits our attack,” Arthur said.
“Sydney has turned all year, and Adelaide is slower too. So they are two grounds where our attack definitely comes into play,”
he said. – APP