Pacers to play key role: Hafeez
Traditionally, an India-Pakistan cricket match has been touted as a contest between India’s batsmen and Pakistan’s bowlers. All the big one-on-one battles have been hyped along the same lines, be it Imran Khan vs Sunil Gavaskar or Sachin Tendulkar vs Shoaib Akhtar.
This series will be the first in a long time with no hyped individual contests. But the tradition will be held up as India’s young talented batsmen front up to the guile of Pakistani bowlers. The visiting skipper, Mohammad Hafeez, is highly confident that he has a bowling attack to negotiate one of the best limited overs batting line-ups in the world.
“India’s batting is known to be the best in the world. But matches are not won by batting alone. You need good bowlers to win you games. We have no doubt that the skills of their batsmen are second to none in the world but we have such good bowlers that we’re confident of doing well against them,” Hafeez said.
Pakistan has always been a bowlers’ country, churning out some of the greatest fast bowlers to have played cricket. Of late, however, it’s a spinner that has hogged all the limelight. Saeed Ajmal has been riding a dream form in the recent past, bamboozling some of world’s best batsmen with his off-spin. While Hafeez wants him to continue to add to his wickets tally, he is also wary of putting too much pressure on his star spinner.
“Ajmal is one of the best spinners in the world today. The way he’s been producing results for Pakistan is unbelievable. He’s at his best against any opposition. While we want him to continue doing that, we don’t want to put extra pressure on him and want the other bowlers to step up as well,” the captain said.
Having said that, the Pakistan captain is not too concerned about Ajmal’s workload because he knows the pace bowlers will lead the way against the Indian batsmen.
“The faster bowlers generally get more success against the Indian batsmen who play spin well and we have that on our minds. We have a very good pace attack and we’re looking forward to them playing a big role in the series.”
Pakistan have brought a bunch of young cricketers who are about to experience the tension of playing India in India for the first time. Hafeez believes this is their best chance to get a proper taste of international cricket.
“The selectors wanted to give an opportunity to the youngsters who had been doing well in the last couple of years at the domestic level. I think it’s a great chance for them to come to India and experience international cricket. Playing here, the crowds are huge and the pressure is big. It’s going to be a great learning curve for them on how to handle the pressure,” Hafeez said.
While expressing gratitude to the Indian and Pakistani cricket heads for organising this series, Hefeez wished that the two countries play each other on a regular basis.
“It’s not only the people of India and Pakistan that miss a bilateral series between the two nations but the whole cricketing world does. India and Pakistan should keep playing against each other on a regular basis.