Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq has asserted that the team is heading in the right direction in terms of building up towards the T20 World Cup.
The 2021 edition of the T20 World Cup will be held in India in October-November. Most teams, including Pakistan, have started their preparations towards the same. In the lead-up to the mega event, Pakistan will play four T20Is in South Africa and three in Zimbabwe during their tour of Africa.
Speaking at a virtual press conference in this regard, Misbah-ul-Haq said that the batting nucleus of the team will more or less be the same, which points towards a settled outfit. He said:
“Your nucleus is important in T20I cricket. Even in a 15-man squad, about 10-12 players remain the same. The batting nucleus remains the same, with only one-two changes in terms of form. This team, and the overall line-up of our T20 batting, looks settled.”
Naming the players who, according to him, will give the team a solid base as the T20 World Cup approaches, Misbah-ul-Haq remarked:
“Shaheen Afridi, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Haider Ali, these form the core of our side. In terms of players, we are very much clear about where we are going to be, come the World Cup.”Hopeful of winning in South Africa: Misbah-ul-Haq
According to Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan have a decent chance of winning the series in South Africa. That’s because, unlike in the past, they have a good all-round unit this time. Elaborating on the same, Misbah-ul-Haq said:
“We’re looking ahead to this challenge at the moment. In terms of bounce and pace, it’s different in South Africa. The Wanderers and Centurion are grounds we have performed well at in the past in white-ball cricket. Besides, with the emergence of fast bowlers like Shaheen and Hasnain, as well as all-rounders like Faheem, the balance of our side is really good. We also have good spinners. In the past, we might have had problems with our balance, but we’re in a good position to hopefully win the white-ball series there.”
Pakistan have recalled opening batsman Sharjeel Khan to the national side after four years. He had an exceptional PSL 2021 campaign before the tournament was suspended owing to a COVID-19 outbreak. Khan’s fitness remains a concern, though.
Moreover, veteran T20 specialist Mohammad Hafeez, who missed the home series against South Africa, has also found a place in the squad.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has confirmed that all 35 members of the Africa-bound side, including 22 players and 13 officials, have tested negative for COVID-19.
Pakistan will depart for Johannesburg on a chartered flight on Friday morning.