Mark Butcher praised Pakistan and their recent ODI form against New Zealand, which helped them top the world rankings, but pointed out a hole in their middle order that needs fixing.

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Pakistan comfortably beat the Black Caps in Karachi by 102 runs, which saw them 4-0 up in the five-match series and subsequently move top of the ICC men’s ODI rankings. The rest of the series has been an impressive display of top-order batting, with Pakistan’s range of fast bowlers showing their quality.

Speaking on the Wisden Cricket Weekly podcast, Butcher said: “I think they are as good as they ever were. They are a dynamite team. There is a bit of a hole in the middle where they have struggled to identify and pick the right players for the roles of five, six, seven, finishers, all rounders.”

Throughout this series, Pakistan’s middle order has either not been needed to come in and bat or have scored the very few runs needed to see them over the line. Butcher felt there is not the same level of quality in the middle order as is present in other areas.

“Top order batting is fantastic,” he said. “They’ve got Fakhar, Babar and Imam all in the top ten of the ODI world rankings. The bowling is dynamite no matter which combination of quicks they play. Shadab is a terrific leg-spinning all rounder.

“And on their night they can beat anybody. Which is why they make finals. They can also be terrible but that is just the beauty of it. So I think their chances [for the World Cup] are pretty good.

“It is extraordinary really that given everything that Pakistan cricket contends with over time, the one thing that is not in question is the amount of talent there is in this country. With a bit of better management and more accountable decision making they could be very tough to beat.”