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‘Pakistan need to be at their best to outgun West Indies’

‘Pakistan need to be at their best to outgun West Indies’

DUBAI: Pakistan T20 captain Sarfraz Ahmed and head coach Mickey Arthur believe that their team will have to be at their best to beat World Twenty20 champions West Indies in the upcoming three-match series which starts here on Friday.

Addressing the media at the ICC Academy in Dubai Sports City before commencing their first training session on Monday evening, Sarfraz said: “We are playing good cricket. Our aim here is to play good cricket to beat them.”

Pakistan are riding high after an impressive T20 performance in England recently and is hoping to carry the momentum into this series.

Coach Arthur, though delighted with his team’s show, warned that West Indies are a tough team.

“West Indies are very good Twenty20 team, they are the current world Twenty20 title holders, so you can never take them lightly even in conditions like these.

“The West Indies conditions are similar to anyway so they are going to be a formidable opposition and we are going to have to play really well to beat them,” he commented.

Arthur knows that his team has the skills to beat any team.

“We have played lot of T20 and one-dayers and we have the skills and hence we are confident we will be ready for the challenge,” added Arthur, who took over as Pakistan coach in May following Waqar Younis’ resignation in April following Pakistan’s early exit from the World T20 held in India.

Pakistan have arrived here after recording two successive victories. They won the last One-day International against England at Cardiff and also beat them in the only T20 match against England at Old Trafford in Manchester.

“The last two victories against England showed that we are in the right direction. We want to carry the momentum in to the series,” Arthur remarked.

When Sarfraz was asked whether absence of explosive West Indies T20 batsman Chris Gayle is an advantage or not, he said: “Our focus will be only on what we have to do and our aim is to start off on a good note.

“For both teams the conditions are also the same. In which ground we play does not matter but we have play best on the ground and that is what matters. We have young players who have to potential to do well. We are confident.”

Sarfraz said continuing in the same format does help in maintaining a bit of the momentum after winning the one-off T20 against England.

“It becomes easy when you finish your previous series with a T20 and the start of a new series is also T20. Then, it is better because you have a bit of momentum going your way,” said Sarfraz.

“Moreover, some of the boys are also coming into the series after playing in the [National] T20 Cup back home. It means they will be in the groove for the upcoming fixtures.”

When Arthur was asked whether his team is pace or spin heavy, he replied: “Whoever bowls it is about execution of skills. There is no point whether we are pace heavy or spin heavy but what matters is execution of the skills. We will pick a playing XI with the best variations.”

Published in Dawn September 21st, 2016

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