Intikhab backs Pakistan selections

Afridi's team have notched victories against Kenya, Sri Lanka and Canada but not without a few hiccups.

PALLEKELE: Pakistan manager Intikhab Alam Sunday brushed aside criticism from former great Imran Khan, who said team selections at the World Cup had been negative.

Imran said playing with two frontline pacemen and two spinners, in addition to Mohammad Hafeez as spinning all-rounder and fast-bowling all-rounder Abdul Razzaq, was defensive. But Intikhab said Pakistan had been making the most of their resources.

“Everyone has the right to give his opinion, but we have not closed our eyes and ears,” he said.

“The team management is doing its homework and is doing whatever is needed in the best interests of the team,” Intikhab added ahead of Pakistan’s Group A match against New Zealand in Pallekele on Tuesday.

Imran’s criticisms come despite three wins out of three for Pakistan, which sees them at the top of the group.

“I strongly believe that although Pakistan have won three matches, they are playing with one specialist bowler short and need to include a bowler in place of a batsman or an all-rounder,” said Imran.

Intikhab, who was coach/manager of the 1992 Pakistan World Cup-winning team that Imran captained, said the teams would face the extra challenge of playing at high altitude in the hill resort of Pallekele.

“This place is 2000 feet above sea level and altitude affects the breathing, for which we are working hard during training,” said Intikhab, who was coach when Pakistan won the 2009 World Twenty20.

He said his team were happy they had come into the tournament being jointly hosted by India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as underdogs.

“It was good for us that we were not rated when we came to the tournament, it suited us. But we are trying to do our best and taking every game seriously without thinking too much on how we have played so far.”

Intikhab said New Zealand, who have two wins out of three matches, would be difficult opponents.

“It’s a tough game against New Zealand. We won the series against them but here the conditions are different so we need to work very hard to keep our 100 per cent record intact.”