Pakistan vows to beat Zimbabwe for Waqar
LAHORE: Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq Thursday said he hoped his team would put on a winning performance against Zimbabwe to give outgoing coach Waqar Younis a befitting farewell.
The new-look team left for Zimbabwe after Waqar announced he will step down as head coach following the 24-day tour due to health problems.
“We were shocked by the sudden announcement of him leaving after the tour, but we all respect that and want to do well and win the coming series for the coach,” Misbah told AFP.
Pakistan will open the tour on Sunday with a two-day practice match in Bulawayo before the only Test of the trip, at the same venue, starts on September 1.
The team will also play three one-day internationals and two Twenty20 matches.
Misbah said the young players were ready to make their mark.
“All the players have performed well at the domestic level and were selected on merit so they are fully committed to take their chances and contribute in team’s performance,” he said.
Pakistan are resting frontline pacemen Wahab Riaz and Umar Gul, and have dropped fast bowler Tanvir Ahmed, but Misbah denied the team lacked experience.
“We have some promising fast bowlers, with Sohail Tanveer staging a comeback and I am sure all these bowlers will try their level best to help Pakistan come out victorious on the tour,” said Misbah.
He also praised Zimbabwe’s recent performances against Bangladesh after their recent Test win and 3-2 victory in the one-day series.
“We are aware of their progress and cannot take them lightly, more so after their wins against Bangladesh,” Misbah said.
Speaking at the airport before the team left, Waqar appeared upbeat.
“We have prepared well for the tour and all the players are eager to make their marks at the international level, so I am sure the series will produce good results for us,” he said.
Former captain Shoaib Malik also joined the team after being cleared by an Integrity Committee of the Pakistan Cricket Board over allegations of illegal earnings.
Waqar said the inclusion of Malik, who has not played for Pakistan since last year’s tour of England, has strengthened the team.
“Malik is an experienced player and I hope he will take this opportunity to cement his place in the team,” he said.