Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez is looking forward to the start of his team’s ICC World Twenty20 campaign, against New Zealand at Pallekele on Sunday (September 23).
In between winning ICC WT20 2009, Pakistan also reached the inaugural final in 2007 and the semi-final in 2010 – thus proving their credentials in the 20-over format on a regular basis.
Hafeez acknowledges his players are well suited to the newest format of the game.“I personally feel the boys played really very well in the some of the ICC events and that really gives us confidence,” said Hafeez. “In the past we have especially done great in this ICC World T20 and then I think, overall, T20 gives you the freedom to go out there and enjoy yourself and I think we, as players, really enjoy ourselves while playing T20.
“It doesn’t mean that we don’t enjoy ourselves in [ODIs] and Test matches but I think this format of the game allows the players a little bit more freedom so you can say as a team we are really feeling more confidence when you get in to the T20,” Hafeez added.
Pakistan’s strongest suit is general considered their bowling while the batting unit has a tendency to blow hot and cold. They will have been boosted, however, by their successful pursuit of 186 in Monday’s warm-up game against India – an effort spearheaded by Kamran Akmal’s 92 not out.
“Definitely as a batting unit we really have to work hard, not only in this tournament but overall,” said Hafeez. “I think we know we have to take responsibility and I think we have seen with some of the players they have really shown a great character.
“Kamran Akmal is one of them, he is in good form and doing well - so everybody has to take responsibility and everybody has to play a role to win a game for Pakistan. I think everybody is looking forward to do well for Pakistan.”
While Pakistan are not only tipped to progress from Group D but also reach the latter stages, their skipper is looking no further than making sure his team safely negotiates their match with the Black Caps and – should things go awry on Sunday – the safety valve of a second game against Bangladesh two days’ later.
“Well first of all we are not thinking like this (about the Super Eights) you know every time we get in to the game we have to win and you have to work hard to win. We believe tomorrow is the first game, there is no pressure on us because of the conditions of this pool - you have to win every game to make sure that you are in the Super Eight. At the moment we are very much concentrating on the game against New Zealand,” Hafeez concluded.