Fresh off a winning start in the first T20I against Zimbabwe, Pakistan set their sights on completing a whitewash when the two teams meet on Sunday at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
While the atmosphere in the first game was electrifying, it is expected to get even better on Sunday.
Pakistan head coach Waqar Younis has hinted at some changes in the second T20I, hopeful of unearthing another star like the opening game’s man of the match Mukhtar Ahmed. “We’ll see if we can give opportunity to new players in the next match and hope that they can produce the sort of performance that Mukhtar gave,” said Waqar.
The former pacer insisted that it was important to strike the right balance in the team. “The team management and captain will sit down and talk about it,” he said. “We won’t hesitate to rest the senior players if we have to as winning and losing doesn’t matter until you are on the right track and are improving. There are good youngsters like Immad Wasim.”
The erstwhile captain stated that it was hard to control emotions on Friday after the rousing reception they received at the Gaddafi Stadium as soon as the players entered. “It’s always good to play in front of the home crowd and winning the game is like icing on the cake,” said Waqar, who coached for the first time in a match in Pakistan. “Playing on home soil in front of our own people gives you different feelings.”
He also accepted that Pakistan’s fielding was below-par, something which cannot be overlooked in the heat of victory.
Regarding the team’s collapse, Waqar stated that losing wickets quickly in a T20 is inevitable; adding that the openers had done a fantastic job earlier but it could have been better had Pakistan won with more wickets in hand.
The official was also ecstatic that Pakistan finally played an aggressive brand of cricket, something which he has been aiming for since quite a while.
When asked about not having a genuine spinner in the side, Waqar replied, “People are looking for a spinner of Saeed Ajmal’s quality, but I can’t see us getting such a bowler in the near future.”
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe skipper Elton Chigumbura stressed that his team is capable to make a comeback to trouble the hosts. “We’re definitely capable of bouncing back in the next match and there are lots of positives we can take from the first game,” said Chigumbura.
“There is still lot of cricket to be played and hopefully we would regroup before the next game and look forward to a positive result.”
The all-rounder was all praises for the enthusiastic crowd that cheered almost equally for both sides. “We’ve never experience the same sort of support outside Zimbabwe which we’ve received so far in Pakistan,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2015.
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