By: Express News Service | | Adelaide | | February 15, 2015 6:58:26 pm
Ahead of the key India-Pakistan clash on Sunday, both captains shared their views with the media. While MS Dhoni spoke about the fact that his side is an experienced ODI unit and how his bowlers are concentrating on bowling well in the first and last stretches of an innings, Misbah-ul-Haq spoke about the role of seniors in the side and the batsman he regards as a potential match-winner.
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“What’s brilliant about this team is you don’t need to calm nerves. They’ve got a fair amount of experience, all of them. They have been playing ODI cricket for quite some time. They are also part of IPL squads, which means they are quite used to playing in front of 40,000, 50,000 people, and also big games like the quarters, semis, and all of that, and they have played different tournaments. Most of them are experienced when it comes to handling tense situations,” said Dhoni.
On having a more or less different squad from the one in 2011, he said: “There are a few players from 2011 squad, but other than that, a lot of changes have been made for whatever reasons, and with that, you have your own strengths. This is the best 15 players that were available to be selected for the World Cup. The bowling department looks very different to what we had in 2011. But at the same time we try to give as many number of games to individuals as possible so that when they turn up for the World Cup, they have quite a few games under their belt.”
Despite the bowling being a worry, Dhoni sounded confident. “Well, the morale has been up. If you see, there were instances where they went for runs, but at the same time there were good performances by bowlers. Also against Australia, Glenn Maxwell went for the bowling and he was able to score freely. But what happens is, it actually helped them reassess their plans. We don’t have any injuries in the squad. Ishant is the only one who’s missing. So, that’s still a big positive because it has been a long summer for us over here,” he said.
He also said that his bowlers have been working on specific phases of the game. “We had a couple of practice sessions in the center wicket and they (bowlers) made the most out of it. The yorker bowling was really good by all fast bowlers, at the same time variations, the slower bouncer, the bouncer, even the bouncer in the slog overs and all of that stuff, so they are looking good. Where we drastically need to improve is not giving boundary — opportunity of boundary balls, easy boundary balls in the first stint overs when the ball is new and the batsmen, they can actually use your pace. That will be the key, how we bowl in the first 10 overs,” he said.
Misbah was confident that Pakistan would change the losing trend against India in World Cups. “I believe records and history are such things which are bound to change. There is nothing in life which remains constant forever. It can always change and it would change,” he said.
Pakistan’s pacers could pose India a worry and Misbah said he would be banking on them. “People find it difficult tackling the bounce generated by Irfan on benign pitches in India and Pakistan, therefore you can think what can happen on bouncy Australian tracks. We have had players like Umar Akmal, Sohaib Maqsood, Harris Sohail performing well. Even the spinners Shahid Afridi and Yasir Shah bowled brilliantly against England,” he said.
Despite murmurs of things not being well among the senior members of the Pakistani squad, Younis said that experience was always a strength. “Younis is a senior player, with experience of playing in all conditions and throughout the world. He’s always been a big help for me as a captain and a big help for the other teammates. Definitely, he will give his input about this wicket and stadium. Senior players, experienced players and good performers are key to your team’s success,” he said.
Misbah also predicted big things for opener Ahmed Shehzad. “Ahmed Shehzad, I think his performances are really good. You could say he’s a match-winner. He could really turn the game. So we’ll be really happy to have him in the squad because he has got that sort of flair and positive attitude that he could rise to the occasion and play a really good innings,” he concluded.