Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez is all geared up for the upcoming Champions Trophy clash against India,and said any encounter between the traditional rivals on the cricketing field is “always very special”.
Hafeez told Pakistani reporters in Ireland,where the team is preparing for a One-Day series against the hosts,that the players were eagerly awaiting for the match against India as it would also determine their chances of qualifying for the knockout stage of the tournament.
Pakistan and India will clash on June 15 at Edgbaston in one of the most awaited fixtures of the ICC event. “A match against India is always very special and as
usual we are awaiting for the match. But we will be trying to to play every game in the tournament in the same manner and with same passion,” Hafeez,who is Pakistan’s T20 captain,said.
“The match against India should be electric and I always enjoy playing against India because the atmosphere is different and the environment is charged. Both the teams give more than 100 per cent to do well,” he added.
He said he was expecting a exciting clash against India in the Champions Trophy and it would be a different experience playing in English conditions.
Hafeez said the good thing about the present Pakistan team was that most of the players had previously played in England either in league or county cricket or for the national team.
“That experience will come in very handy for us and it is good we are already playing Scotland and Ireland prior to the tournament in England,” Hafeez said.
He recalled that when Pakistan last toured England in 2010,they had done well in the ODI that followed the spot-fixing scandal. “The good thing was that despite everything the people were always supporting us at every ground. The good thing about playing in England is that we have a large Pakistani community supporting us strongly,” he said.
The 32-year old said despite the absence of senior players like Umar Gul,Shahid Afridi and Younis Khan,the Champions Trophy-bound team was a good blend of youth and experience and the bowling attack was its strongest point.
“I think Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan will prove to be handful in English conditions with the new ball and than we have great backup and a quality spinner in Saeed Ajmal,” he noted. Hafeez also said that by the time the tournament started,Pakistan’s batting will also settle down as the side had some very talented players like opener Nasir Jamshed,whom he described as special.
“The good thing about Nasir is that he is a very good timer and always tries to play cricketing shots,” he said. Pakistan are placed in Group B in the Champions Trophy along with West Indies,South Africa and India.