ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is in serious danger of failing to qualify directly for the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup 2019 in the United Kingdom as it currently sits on eighth position in the ODI Team Rankings.
Pakistan's rating at 89 puts it two behind Bangladesh and two ahead of the West Indies, said an ICC press release issued on Wednesday.
Former world champion Pakistan is eyeing direct qualification for the World Cup 2019 when it takes on the in-form reigning world champion and number-one ranked Australia in a five-match ODI series starting in Brisbane on Friday.
With unwanted memories of the Test series clean sweep by Australia still fresh in their mind, Pakistan will be looking to redeem their past mistakes in the five-match ODI series starting on Friday.
But more than that, the Green Shirts will be desperate to boost their chances of qualifying directly for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 and not have to resort to playing qualifiers.
Currently sitting at a dismal 8th position in the ODI rankings, Pakistan are two points behind Bangladesh and two points ahead of West Indies. In this scenario, Pakistan face danger of failing to qualify directly for the mega event. Host England and the seven highest-ranked sides on the ICC ODI Team Rankings as on 30 September 2017 will qualify directly for the next World Cup to be held from 30 May to 15 July 2019. The four bottom-ranked sides will play ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 along with six other teams from the ICC World Cricket League, from which two teams will qualify for the World Cup.
How important is ODI series against Australia?
Former Test cricketer and analyst Sikandar Bakht believes Pakistan have a lot to prove in the upcoming ODI series against Australia.
To maintain their pre-series ranking points, Pakistan must win one match in the series. "But we must win more than one match to gain some points to come out of this situation," he said, adding that it is embarrassing for the team to even dip to this level where it is a struggle to even make it to the World Cup.
"Unfortunately, Australia are a very tough opponent. They're ranked number one and will give a very tough time to Pakistan," he added.
What if Pakistan fail to win against Australia?
"Then we have to look ahead to series against West Indies and Bangladesh in the next few months and work very, very hard to beat them," Bakht said.
"All is not lost but we will have to perform against them and also win a decent number of matches in the ICC Champions Trophy in England in June.
"Winning against major teams in the Champions Trophy will get us better points, and hopefully we won't have to play the qualifiers," the former cricketer concluded.