Pacers always keep Pakistan in the game, says Waqar

Kolkata, March 15 (IANS) Pakistan cricket coach Waqar Younis on Tuesday emphasised on the importance of fast bowlers in their side, saying they always keep the team in the contest.

Pakistan boasts of one of the most lethal pace bowling line-ups in the world with the likes of Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Irfan.

“We have great pace bowlers. With such quality, you are always in the game,” Waqar said, adding that the reason spinner Saeed Ajmal was not picked for the World Twenty20 was that “Ajmal was not in the best of form. We have a decent spinning attack”.

Pakistan take on Bangladesh in their Group 2 game at the Eden Gardens here on Wednesday and the coach is hopeful of his team putting up a great show.

“Every team has the right to improve. An improving team is also good for world cricket. Last 1-2 years Bangladesh are playing good cricket. We saw that in last year’s World Cup and then in South Africa. They beat India too, so they are becoming a good side,” said the pace legend.

“Plenty of respect for them. But this is a big stage, different conditions. We are positive and hopeful of playing great cricket.”

The 44-year-old added that Pakistan are likely to field the same team which beat Sri Lanka by 15 runs in a warm-up game here on Monday.

“More or less the same team as in the warm-up (will play against Bangladesh). The conditions here are quite different from what it was in Bangadesh. More spinners are likely to play in these sort of conditions but our strength lies in fast bowling and we will try and play three pacers,” said the ‘Sultan of Swing’.

Captain Shahid Afridi skipped training on Tuesday morning and went back to the hotel. Younis said he was not feeling well and therefore the team management advised the 36-year-old to rest.

“It’s better for him to take rest. It is warm out there. So it was better that we sent him back to the hotel. He wasn’t feeling well in the morning and now we will have to go and see,” said Waqar, who played international cricket from 1989 to 2003.

About Afridi’s current lack of form with the bat, Younis said, “Form goes and comes back in a minute. Sometimes you are just one good innings away. T20 is about one good knock and hopefully it will come soon.”

The former Pakistan skipper said that they have to be at their best to beat Bangladesh.

“I have seen the wicket. Different conditions from Bangladesh (Asia Cup). But conditions doesn’t really matter much in T20 cricket. We have to be watchful and have to come out strong to beat them.”

Asked if they can repeat the success of 2009 when Pakistan won the World T20 in England, Waqar said, “It is very much possible. Every one has come to win. Nobody were favourites — those who have won in the last editions be it India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka or the West Indies. In this event if you play well for three weeks you can win the World 20.”

“Most teams struggled with the bat in the Asia Cup in the first six overs. Yes we lost wickets and could not capitalise even after that and that is why we lost. Hopefully, the batters will give us enough runs and the bowlers will compliment them.”

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