LAHORE: Misbahul Haq has confirmed that his team was fully focussed on delivering a solid, disciplined performance against England in the upcoming Test series that kicks off in Dubai on January 17.
Misbah sounded confident about Pakistan’s chances of doing well against the top-ranked Test side, declaring that he had the required arsenal in both batting and bowling that could upset England.
“Our focus is on giving a disciplined performance on and off the field and I’m hopeful of getting the maximum out of all the players in all department of the game,” Misbah told reporters at the conclusion of the training camp ahead of the series. “We have an excellent bowling attack with good fast-bowlers and spinners. Our batting is performing too and we seldom falter in the field although we do need to improve in that department.
“We also have a slight edge over England because of the home advantage. We have played in the UAE before so we have become used to the venues there.
“England are a thoroughly professional team, and we have to put in real hard work to score against them and will have to bowl up to the mark to dismiss them.”
The captain also supported the use of the Decision Review System during the series but said that the technology still needed improvement.
Defends conservative approach
Misbah, while responding to criticism about his defensive captaincy and batting, said that the approach the team had employed had worked so far.
“I think it’s better to win matches through a defensive approach rather than playing attacking cricket and then ending up losing,” he said.
‘Spot-fixing scandal not on our minds’
Misbah also believed that Pakistan had done enough on the field to prove that the spot-fixing scandal, which first came to the fore the last time the two teams met in England in 2010, was no longer on the minds of his players.
“We have already proved a lot and the scandal is no more on our minds,” he said. “It’s quite clear now that none of the players have kept that scandal on their minds and everyone is just focussing on cricket.”
We’re capable of getting 20 wickets: Aqib
Meanwhile, Pakistan bowling coach Aqib Javed predicted a close contest but backed his bowlers to outshine the opposition’s batting line-up.
“England will be expecting a tough contest too and they would be wary of our bowling attack as no other team contains such variety and depth,” he said. “Our bowling is capable of getting 20 wickets in a match.”
Aqib was happy at the inclusion of young fast-bowler Mohammad Talha in the team and said that he possessed very good speed, which would be extremely helpful on the slow pitches that will be encountered in the UAE.
“You cannot win every match through individual performances. Currently everyone is contributing their bit to the success of the team. All the players will have a key role to play if we are to win.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 8th, 2012.