Misbah-ul-Haq will lead Pakistan at the ICC Champions Trophy in England © Getty Images
Abbottabad: May 9, 2013
Pakistan’s tough tour of South Africa has put them in the right mindset for the Champions Trophy, captain Misbah-ul-Haq said Wednesday after a training camp aimed at attuning the team to English conditions.
Pakistan were thrashed 3-0 in Tests in South Africa, their batsmen unable to cope with the hosts’ blistering pace attack, but fought back in March’s one-day series to lose 3-2.
Misbah said the experience had toughened his side up as they head to England for next month’s eight-team Champions Trophy, where they face the West Indies, India and South Africa in the group stages.
“We have some good teams in our group, but the way we have played in South Africa, we have played some tough cricket in tough conditions and mentally the boys will get benefit from it,” Misbah said.
“Your mental level gets improved when you play tough series like in South Africa and you get ready to face difficulties and I think our performance will be good.”
His charges spent a week training in the hill town of Abbottabad, north of Islamabad, to gear up for the competition in conditions close to what they will face in England.
Pakistan’s leading all-time Test run-scorer Javed Miandad helped the batsmen while Wasim Akram drew on his years of playing for Lancashire to coach the bowlers on how to use English conditions, where there is more swing and seam movement than in the subcontinent.
Holders Australia, England, Sri Lanka and New Zealand are in the other pool for the tournament, which starts on June 6.
Misbah agreed Pakistan would miss experienced batsman Younis Khan and dashing allrounder Shahid Afridi — both dropped because of lack of form.
“It’s difficult when you play without your senior players but sometimes you have to take such decisions, as of now we have to focus on what resources we have in the team,” he said.
“I think we have lot of match-winners in the team.”
Coach Dav Whatmore said the team had their sights set on lifting the trophy at Edgbaston in Birmingham on June 23.
“This team has got the ability, if we play to our potential we can put pressure on any team so that’s our goal, our goal is obviously to win it,” he said.