Ali wants Pakistan batsmen to score fast runs
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s new one-day captain Azhar Ali says his batsmen have to cope with the fast pace of modern cricket and score quick runs.
“Bowlers did well in the World Cup, so we are going to rely on them but it’s important that batsmen should also feel the sense of responsibility,” Ali told reporters in Lahore on Saturday.
“Definitely cricket these days is going fast and we are surely going to match the pace at the top level,” Ali said of his batsmen. “I understand cricket has changed a lot and obviously we do have to take our cricket forward in a positive way.”
Pakistan’s top order struggled in the recent World Cup in New Zealand and Australia, reaching over 300 runs in just one match against United Arab Emirates.
Ali, who played the last of his 14 one-day internationals more than two years ago, replaced Misbah-ul-Haq as limited-overs captain. Misbah will continue to lead Pakistan in test matches with Ali his deputy.
Ali was not selected for the World Cup, where Pakistan went out in the quarterfinals.
The Pakistan Cricket Board changed the selection committee after the tournament with three top order batsmen dropped and Younis Khan rested for the one-day series against Bangladesh. The first of three matches starts April 17 in Mirpur.
Three uncapped batsmen — opener Sami Aslam and middle order Mohammad Rizwan and Saad Nasim — were named by selectors, with Fawad Alam and Asad Shafiq recalled for the ODIs.
At the World Cup, Sarfraz Ahmed was the only Pakistan batsman to hit a century in the tournament — against Ireland. In the absence of injured Umar Gul, Junaid Khan and suspended Saeed Ajmal, fast bowlers Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Irfan and Rahat Ali rescued Pakistan in crunch matches.
Misbah faced stern criticism from former Pakistan cricketers for his defensive approach in limited-overs cricket, but Ali said he took a lot of inspiration from Misbah.
“There are a lot of things that might not have made it to the public, but being a team member I saw a lot of good things in him,” Ali said. “There are a lot of great captains around the world but for me Misbah is the best captain I have played with.”
Bangladesh also matched Pakistan’s progress in the World Cup before being knocked out in the quarterfinals by losing against India.
But Ali was optimistic his new look team would give Bangladesh a tough time.
“I believe my young boys will perform well,” he said.
After the ODI series both teams will compete in a one-off Twenty20 followed by two test matches.