LAHORE: Pakistan’s one-day and Test captain Misbah-ul Haq said Friday he was pleased with his team’s progress in fielding and fitness as they prepare for next month’s tour of Sri Lanka.
Misbah, who turns 38 later this month, is one of the best fielders in the team but Pakistan’s overall standard is well short of top teams like Australia, England and their upcoming opponents Sri Lanka.
In March, Pakistan hired former Surrey fielding coach Julian Fountain to give them a lift in that department, but Misbah, replaced as Twenty20 captain by Mohammaz Hafeez, insisted it had been a priority for some time.
“Whether it was under Waqar Younis (former coach) and Ijaz Ahmed (fielding coach) everyone did a good job and now Julian is doing a great job and I think we have shown good improvement in fielding and fitness,” Misbah told reporters.
Misbah said Pakistan will have to be on top form to compete against Sri Lanka.
“We have to be at our best in all departments because Sri Lanka is a tough opponent no matter where you play them and in their own country they are even tougher,” he said.
Pakistan beat Sri Lanka 1-0 in Tests and 4-1 in the one-day series in the United Arab Emirates last year but their last tour to the island in 2009 ended in defeats in both forms of the game.
Although dropped from the Twenty20 squad, Misbah said he will keep playing the shortest form of the game – perhaps with an eye on the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in September and October.
“I enjoy playing T20 cricket and I will continue to play at the domestic level. I have not given up hope of playing in the ICC World Cup in Sri Lanka this year,” said Misbah.
Pakistan will play two Twenty20s, five one-day internationals and three Tests on the tour, starting with a T20 in Hambantota on June 1.
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