Pakistan’s new T20 captain calls for trust
Pakistan’s newly appointed Twenty20 captain Mohammad Hafeez on Thursday called for trust and a good environment in the dressing room ahead of next month’s tour of Sri Lanka. The talented Pakistan team often makes headlines over rows between the players and a volatile dressing room atmosphere, but Hafeez said he would continue the good example set by Misbah-ul-Haq.
Misbah, dropped from the Twenty20 squad but retained as one-day and Test captain for the Sri Lankan tour, is credited with uniting the team after a 2010 spot-fixing sandal saw Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir banned and jailed. “It’s not a team of any individual and we all trust each other, and I think the way Misbah has settled the atmosphere of the team, you will see that this tour will be very positive,” Hafeez told reporters.
Hafeez also faces the challenge of leading a team which has two former captains in Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi, often difficult for the incumbent skipper. “What I have discussed with [the] T20 players is that I am trying to give them full confidence. Unfortunately, after one or two performances, we start thinking that a player does not deserve to have a place in the team,” he said. “I will try to make a good environment for them in the dressing room and give players, like Malik and Khalid [Latif], trust.”
Pakistan open the tour with a Twenty20 in Hambantota on June 1. The two Twenty20 matches will be followed by five one-day internationals and three Tests.
Hafeez agreed his team was short on Twenty20 practice, noting that players were missing out on the ongoing Indian Premier League. Pakistani players featured in the inaugural IPL in 2008 but have since not been allowed to play as relations between the arch-rivals nosedived after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which India blamed on militants based across the border.
Hafeez said the training camp meant players were well drilled. “The whole team is focused, practice sessions are going well and we are trying to bring ourselves into an international mould, and we will try to bring in good results on the tour,” he said.