Pakistan to focus on Shakib in opener | Pakistan Today

Pakistan to focus on Shakib in opener

Misbah also warned his teammates about the stiff challenge posed by Bangladesh ahead of their clash in the opening match of the Asia Cup on Sunday.
He said his side would not make the mistake of taking Bangladesh lightly despite Pakistan’s nearly perfect record against the hosts. Of the 29 matches between the sides, Pakistan has lost just one, an ODI at the 1999 World Cup.
‘We don’t want to commit that mistake. Bangladesh is a difficult opposition at home, because they know the condition very well,’ Misbah said. ‘On their day they can upset you, so we will not take them lightly. We have to put in our hundred percent, we really have to come out hard to win the game.’
He added that new Pakistan coach Dav Whatmore, a former Bangladesh coach, should be able to provide the tourists with details about the opposition and the local conditions. ‘He is already contributing, and of course he can give some input about the Bangladeshi players,’ Misbah said. ‘But I think we are playing lots of cricket against Bangladesh, we played a series against them here in Dhaka. So we are quite familiar with them. ‘Both the teams know each other well, both the teams know strengths and weaknesses of each other.’
He added that Pakistan will pay particular attention to Bangladesh allrounder Shakib Al Hasan.
‘Shakib is a key player, so we are focusing on him. But we are also focusing on other players as well,’ he said.
Meanwhile, Shakib said dealing with Pakistan’s spin attack would be the key challenge for Bangladesh.
‘Handling Pakistan’s spin attack is vital for us, and moreover their fast bowling unit is also good. I think they have the best bowling unit of all the teams playing this tournament,’ Shakib said.
Despite Bangladesh’s inconsistent performance against top teams, Shakib said the hosts will aim to win every match at the tournament. The Asia Cup also involves India and Sri Lanka.
Although Bangladesh was whitewashed in its bilateral series against Pakistan earlier this year, Shakib remained confident of his side’s chances. ‘We have the ability to bowl well against any big side in the world. We will play every game to win,’ he said. ‘We did not perform well in the last series we played against Pakistan, but this is a different tournament, and we are preparing well.’
Shakib said Bangladesh could not practice much as a team before the Asia Cup, ‘but we have been playing domestic cricket so the guys are confident.’
India has won the Asia Cup five times while Sri Lanka won it four times. Pakistan has won it once.
The tough experience that India and Sri Lanka went through in Australia in their recent tour will give them an advantage over their rivals, Misbah said. The biennial four-nation Asia Cup begins in Dhaka on Sunday with Pakistan and Bangladesh vying for the top spot in the continent along with India and Sri Lanka.
India had just a few days break before flying to Dhaka after a tough Australia tour where they lost all four test matches and failed to qualify for the finals of the tri-series one-day tournament.
Sri Lanka, beaten by Australia in the best of three finals of the tri-series, flew to Dhaka directly from Australia on Saturday. “I think the way they have played cricket in Australia, it will always be difficult… to play against them as they have played tough cricket over there,” Misbah told a news conference in Dhaka about their opponents.
“To compete with them we have to work very hard and have to improve our performance.” Pakistan toured Bangladesh in December and won both test and one-day series by a clear margin. They also beat England in a test series 3-0 in the United Arab Emirates before losing the one-day series 4-0 to the same opponents.
“Regardless of the situation that we have played here and have some advantage, but it will hardly matter as they have played some tough cricket. A lot of teams get mentally strong after playing over there (Australia),” he said.
Misbah said they want to forget the poor showing in the one-day series against England and take inspiration from the past good test results.
“Every game and every series is a different ball game. You can’t just stick to the series that you have lost,” said Misbah. “If you look at the series before we won six series in a row, I think this is part of the game. What we want to do is just forget the one-day series and just look forward,” he said.
Bangladesh: Imrul Kayes, Tamim Iqbal, Nazimuddin, Jahurul Islam, Mushfiqur Rahim (captain), Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah, Nasir Hossain, Mashrafe bin Mortaza, Abdur Razzak, Elias Sunny, Nazmul Hossain, Shafiul Islam, Shahadat Hossain, Anamul Haque.
Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Younis Khan, Umar Akmal, Hammad Azam, Asad Shafiq, Shahid Afridi, Azhar Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, Umar Gul, Aizaz Cheema, Wahab Riaz.

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