KARACHI: Mohsin Khan, appointed head coach for the Sri Lanka series, has welcomed the inclusion of all-rounders Shahid Afridi and Abdul Razzaq, saying the duo will bolster the team’s chances ahead of the One-Day Internationals (ODI) against the opposition.
Pakistan play the first of five ODIs tomorrow in Dubai. While Afridi last played in the limited-overs series against the West Indies after the World Cup, Razzaq makes a comeback after being dropped due to poor form in cricket’s showpiece event.
Mohsin, whose team clinched the Test series against Sri Lanka 1-0, their first against the opposition in five years, said the two players were showing no signs of being rusty.
“It’s good news for the team,” Mohsin told The Express Tribune from Dubai. “Both Afridi and Razzaq are match-winners. Sohail Tanvir’s inclusion is also a positive sign.
“All three players are showing huge enthusiasm. They are energetic and it’s good for the team.”
Mohsin also lauded the selection of wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed. “Adnan [Akmal] performed well but Sarfraz has shown good promise. This is part of a rotation policy which has given us a good backup of players.”
‘Team selection dilemma good for us’
The coach also felt that the inclusion of Afridi, Razzaq along with middle-order Umar Akmal will pose a selection dilemma but was a good sign for the team. “We now have too many choices,” said the former opener. “It will create selection issues but it’s a healthy sign.
“We have the best players available in the squad who will give a tough time to the tour selection committee.
“This selection headache is what I wanted and I’m very happy with the presence of such top cricketers in our pool.”
Coach not fully satisfied with Test triumph
Meanwhile, the coach said the team could have done better than the 1-0 win it managed in the three-match Test series. “Overall the triumph is commendable because it came against a top side but the results could have been much better.
“This team has more potential. We badly need improvement in fielding. This is an area which can land us in trouble.”
Meanwhile, the all-rounder said he had moved past the controversy that led to him announcing a conditional retirement and added that he was completely focused on the job at hand. “It’s time to play cricket,” Afridi told Dubai Sports City. “I don’t want to talk about this anymore. It’s all over and I am here to play cricket now.”
Afridi added that he had no reservations playing under Misbah. “I’ve played under a lot of captains, so it is not really a big issue. I think Misbah is doing a great job. He really helped me in the World Cup. So [now] I’m here to help him.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 10th, 2011.