LAHORE: Pakistan spin bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed has said his team might be behind in preparations for the World Cup but this is not an excuse as they are professionals and want to enter the field with complete confidence.
He was speaking to the media on the last day of the training camp, set up at the Gaddafi Stadium for preparation for the World Cup, on Friday.
“Our batsmen have practised on marble pitches to make themselves familiar with pace and bounce they will face in Australia and New Zealand, and I request the media and the nation to believe on us that we will try our best to win,” a member of the 1992 World Cup winning squad said.
“We played like a unit in 1992 as the nation had a belief that we would win,” he said.
“Head coach Waqar Younis is inculcating self confidence and belief in players. I myself badly want to win the Cup and expect a lot from the players,” he added.
Mushtaq showed complete faith in leg-spinners Shahid Afridi and Yasir Shah, saying, “In my personal experience, Australian pitches are quite bouncy and if a leg-spinner finds a bounce he can be lethal.
“My own success ratio in Australia was good where I toured five times, so both Afridi and Yasir will make a difference,” Mushtaq said.
He reminded the journalists that in the 1992 World Cup, Pakistan had been playing either with him or another leg-spinner Iqbal Sikandar and in some matches they both had played together.
Mushtaq said Pakistan had to resort to leg-spinners following ban on off-spinners Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez.
But when he was reminded that Hafeez’s chances were still alive to bowl at the World Cup after clearing the biomechanics Test, Mushtaq admitted that analysts and academy coaches were helping him overcome his flaws and that he could be available to bowl at the mega event.
He said Waqar Younis had to miss the 1992 event on fitness grounds but they managed to lift the Cup and now Ajmal had to miss it due to his bowling action and he was again hopeful of winning the Cup.
“No team depends on some individual performers in such big tournaments. It is the team work which is important,” he said.
He said they would plan for matches after examining wickets and weather of venues.
He said Pakistan wanted to beat India in their opening match as they would be looking for a perfect start.
Mushtaq was expecting a lot from newcomer Haris Sohail, both with bat and ball.
“Haris has inspired us against New Zealand in the UAE as he did bowl full quota of his overs conceding less runs as compared to regular bowlers. His temperament is good and he will do well for Pakistan,” Mushtaq said.
Meanwhile, the training camp was concluded, one day before the schedule.
More surprisingly, the formal announcement about camp’s conclusion was made when the players had left the stadium after attending the last session on Friday.
In another development, the PCB has decided to send some players and officials to Army Public School in Peshawar on Saturday to show solidarity.
Earlier, the entire team was to visit the school. The players who will visit include captain Misbah-ul-Haq, Yasir Shah, Umar Akmal, Mohammad Irfan, Ehsan Adil and Ahmad Shehzad. Manager of the Pakistan team Naveed Akram Cheema, security manager Col Azam and assistant coach Shahid Aslam are three officials.