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Pakistan gear up to give their best

Vice-captain Hafeez believes in playing well in the present

Image Credit: Atiq-Ur-Rehman/Gulf News
From left: Mohammad Hafeez, Pakistan vice-captain, FaizanSanghani, director of Cool & Cool, and Australia captainMichael Clarke at the unveiling of the trophy on Sunday.
Gulf News

Sharjah: Pakistan vice-captain Mohammad Hafeez is not bothered about the fact his team hasn’t beaten Australia in a one-day series since 2002.

“We always believe in performing well in every series. The history is on our mind but we always try not to keep the past in our mind and play in the present. We are playing this as a new series and hope that the boys bring some good results for us,” said Hafeez after unveiling the Cool & Cool Cup along with Australian skipper Michael Clarke at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

Pakistan meet Australia in the first One Day International of the three-match series at Sharjah on Tuesday night.

Though Pakistan have been playing regularly in UAE, Hafeez feels they still have to adjust to the conditions here. “Pakistan are playing away from Pakistan for the last three years and every time we come to this part of the world we always have to adjust according to the weather and the pitches,” he said.

“It is as difficult like for other teams to adjust but as professionals we have to adjust according to the situation and conditions here. We have been performing well here for the last one-and-a-half years and so as a team we will give it our best shot.”

Hafeez admits that spin may play a vital role in the series. “We have seen that our spinners gained huge success here against Sri Lanka and England. Saeed Ajmal is one of the best in the world, wherever he plays he gives his best. We have also got Shahid Afridi and so with good spinners for the conditions, hopefully once again they will perform the way they should,” he said.

When asked about the return of wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal, Hafeez said: “We were struggling to get someone who can give us some sort of stability to our batting as well. We tried a couple of wicketkeepers but they couldn’t perform well.

“Kamran is a perfect package as far as keeping and batting is concerned. Hopefully he will be good for the team and he will perform well as an opener or middle order batsman. We can use him anywhere.”

Talking about the omission of their experienced pacer Umar Gul, Hafeez said: “Gul is working with the new bowling coach. He is one of the best bowlers for Pakistan but recently he was struggling with his form. So the selectors have given him a rest, but he is in the Twenty20 side so he will soon be back after a rest.”

According to Hafeez, this series is also important ahead of the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup. “It will definitely be good to win here before the cup in Sri Lanka. I always believe that whatever happened in the past has gone. We know that we lost in Sri Lanka, we lost to England here but still we have a good side. Ours is a team that always does well in these conditions, so hopefully we will win this series.”