As Pakistan gear up for the last edition of the ICC Champions Trophy, national Twenty20 captain Mohammad Hafeez has expressed satisfaction with the team’s preparation for the mega-tournament to be held in England later this summer.
The senior all-rounder termed the timing of the President’s Cup One-Day Tournament important, saying all the probables for the final lineup received useful match practice before the tough tournament.
“Every probable played at least four matches in the tournament,” said Hafeez. “Although we did not get similar conditions and wickets like England, this domestic one-day tournament will still help us prepare well for the Champions Trophy.
“Earlier, we went to India after playing a national four-day event and participation in it helped us a lot on that important tour.
“This domestic tournament has given us valuable experience and more chances to manage and get used to the changes in one-day rules.”
Hafeez hoped the team will be completely ready for the eight-nation tournament after the training camp in Abbottabad next month.
“It will be an important training camp. We are hoping to get appropriate tracks and conditions in Abbottabad that will be crucial for our preparations.
Pakistan are placed in Group B in the Champions Trophy that also includes world champions India, South Africa and West Indies. Meanwhile, Group A comprises of Australia, England, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. The tournament will start on June 7.
‘Misbah a good captain and player’
Reiterating his support for the Test and ODI captain, Hafeez termed Misbahul Haq a cricketer with a positive frame of mind and a good leader.
“Misbah is a good captain and a very good player. We have confidence in his leadership because he stays positive.
“He is also enjoying successful captaincy in domestic tournaments. Despite the hectic tour of South Africa, he took charge of Faisalabad Wolves immediately and led them to victory in the Super Eight Twenty20.
“He also succesfully guided SNGPL in the longer format earlier and now we are in the final of the President’s Cup under him.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 17th, 2013.