SYDNEY: Despite pacer Junaid Khan’s costly blunder in Thursday’s third ODI loss to Australia, Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur has said that the paceman is not a serial no-ball offender.
Australia, chasing 264 for victory at Perth, should have been in all sorts of trouble at 46-3 after debutant 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.
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 Junaid.
“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,” the coach said.
Pakistan are down to 2-1 in the series and must win Sunday’s fourth ODI at Sydney 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.
“Azhar 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 him 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.