Spearheading Pakistan’s pace attack at the ICC Champions Trophy, Junaid Khan’s failure to make an impact has given him the drive to live up to expectations in the Caribbean.
The fast-bowler, who led the attack in the absence of an injured Umar Gul, failed to inspire the team, taking just a solitary wicket after conceding 102 runs from three matches in the event as Pakistan remained winless.
In the wake of this performance, the 23-year old now faces the challenge of showing his form against the West Indies, starting July 14, in which the teams contest five One-Day Internationals and a couple of Twenty20s.
However, Junaid said he was confident of bouncing back in the Caribbean where he made his international debut in 2011.
“It was not my best performance at the Champions Trophy,” said Junaid in an interview with The Express Tribune. “I tried my level best but couldn’t do much.
“But this happens. You have your good days and bad days. But I’m hopeful of doing well against the West Indies. In fact, I am desperate to make a major contribution after the Champions Trophy failure.”
‘No fear of Gayle and company’
West Indies are currently showing good form, leading the ongoing Tri-nation Series with a top-order that has done well on home soil.
Johnson Charles and the swashbuckling Chris Gayle are among the top run-getters in the tournament, while hard-hitting batsmen such as Marlon Samuels and Darren Bravo also pose a threat to Pakistan’s bowling attack.
But the paceman said he was not worried about the opponents’ form.
“Most of their batsmen love to hit the ball hard,” said Junaid. “They go for quick runs and try to hit nearly every ball which makes them vulnerable. I believe I have the ability to curb them. I rather fear batsmen who look to stay at the crease. Such batsmen are comparatively difficult for me to handle. I made my international debut against the West Indies so I am not feeling the pressure —instead I’m feeling confident.”
Meanwhile, Junaid felt fast-bowlers would play a big role during the series.
“The conditions there are expected to support spinners. Keeping this in mind, the fast-bowlers will get the advantage of the reverse swing which can create quite an impact.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2013.