Pakistan's middle-order batsman and one of the most senior players for the Men in Green, Shoaib Malik, on Sunday claimed that his team is more than capable of winning the ICC World Cup 2019 which is due to start later this year in May.
The sport's biggest competition is just a few months away, but most of the pundits and critics have put their money on either of India, England or South Africa to win the prized trophy. The defending champions, Australia, as well as 1992 winners Pakistan are seen as the outsiders, but Malik believes his team has the ability to lift the trophy later this year.
"I feel we have a very good chance to win the tournament. But then having a 'good chance' doesn't mean much. How we play each game and how we perform against the rest of the world will define how far we go. Yes, we have the ability to win the World Cup hands-down, but abilities don't win you anything, performances do," he told Sky Sports.
The Men in Green's one and only triumph on the biggest arena of the sport came in 1992, but since then, the farthest they have reached was in 1999, when they lost to Australia in the final. Though, Pakistan are confident about their chances of upsetting the big boys, given they are the holders of ICC Champions Trophy, which they won in 2017 by beating India in the final.
Presently, as per the ICC's ODI rankings, Pakistan are in fifth spot, behind South Africa, New Zealand, India and England. Their World Cup campaign will begin with a fixture against West Indies on May 31, while the match billed as the biggest of the group stage - India vs Pakistan - will be held on June 16.
The 10-team World Cup will begin on May 30, and is scheduled to be held in England and Wales. In the initial stages, all the 10 teams will play each other once, following which the top four teams will advance to the next round. The tournament will go on for a period of a month and a half, and the final is scheduled to be played on July 14 at the Lord's.