Pakistan began their five-day training camp for the upcoming tour of Zimbabwe looking to continue the winning momentum that started with their limited series triumph in the Caribbean.
They will play two Tests, as many Twenty20s and three One-Day Internationals (ODI) as part of the tour that will start later this month.
Apart from Test and ODI captain Misbahul Haq, Twenty20 captain Mohammad Hafeez, Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shahzad, who are busy with their Caribbean Premier League stint, Shahid Afridi also missed the opening day of the camp. The seasoned all-rounder was scheduled to play an exhibition match in Karachi on the eve of Independence Day.
Former captain and new team manager Moin Khan was also absent for the same reason, but both are expected to join the camp today.
“We had a good opening day,” a team official told The Express Tribune.
“Two sessions were held that started with physical training, while the second session covered bowling and fielding practice.
“The players have been told that the team can’t afford to be complacent and needs to carry forward a winning momentum for the tough tasks coming after the tour [the South Africa and Sri Lanka series].”
Farhat withdraws from Test squad
Imran Farhat, whose inclusion in the Test squad drew heavy criticism after his failure in the Champions Trophy, opted out of the tour citing domestic issues.
“Farhat informed the selectors that due to domestic matters which require his immediate attention, he will be unable to proceed to Zimbabwe,” said a Pakistan Cricket Board official.
The opening batsman will be replaced by another left-handed batsman Shaan Masood (23), a former Pakistan U19 player who has 3,065 runs in 65 first-class matches at an average of around 35.
Amin targets maiden century in Zimbabwe
Speaking on the sidelines of the opening day of the camp, middle-order batsman Umar Amin warned the opposition that his best was yet to come.
Amin, who has played four Tests, six ODIs and a couple of Twenty20s for Pakistan, said he was not satisfied with his performance so far.
“You haven’t seen the best of me,” said the left-handed batsman.
“I am working hard and will show improvement. My prime target is to become one of the main players of the national team in all three formats.”
Amin, part of the ODI and Twenty20 squads, stated that his target will be to score his first international century on the upcoming tour. He added that he felt comfortable batting at number three or four but would be able to adjust to any given batting order.
Babar desperate to perform again
Zulfiqar Babar, who starred in the Twenty20 series against the West Indies, said he was looking to make major contributions for his side.
“I am highly confident after the tour of West Indies,” said the left-arm spinner.
“My target is to give maximum contribution to the team and play as long as I can,” added the 34-year old.
To a question on getting a delayed call-up, Babar said he was never disheartened from cricket and had continued working hard — this had finally paid as he was now part of the national team.
“I can’t express the feeling in words of bowling the first delivery for Pakistan.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2013.
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