Former Pakistan captain Javed Miandad hailed Shahid Afridi’s men for their superb show against West Indies in the World Cup quarterfinal on Wednesday but warned them of the tougher challenges ahead.
“We deserve to celebrate our qualification for the semi-finals but at the same time we should not forget that we have a very tough semi-final ahead of us because whoever among India or Australia win will prove to be a much tougher opponent than West Indies,” Miandad, a key member of the 1992 World Cup-winning team said.
He noted that the Pakistan team had played very well to beat the West Indies but now needed to sit down and plan ahead of their semi-final.
“We need to look at our weaknesses and strengths and also do a detailed homework on our opponents as well. If India makes it to the semis then we need to rethink our bowling combination for sure,” Miandad said.
Pakistan’s chief selector, Mohsin Khan said that although winning the coveted championship is just couple matches away, the real challenge starts now.
“These two matches are going to be a real challenge and test for us. The team needs to do everything to keep the winning momentum going,” Mohsin stated.
“The players now need to produce their best-ever performances over the next week and they can make every Pakistani proud,” he added.
Another former captain Moin Khan said he was happy to see that the Pakistan think-tank in the World Cup was ready to gamble and go with a “horses for courses” selection policy.
“The decision to give the new ball to Mohammad Hafeez and to play Saeed Ajmal instead of Abdul Rehman made cricketing sense. And they were courageous decisions. I want to see the think-tank make similar decisions based on their opponents in the semi final and the conditions in Mohali,” he said.
Abdul Qadir said while the team deserved lot of credit for making the semi-final but there were still some areas they needed to think about.
“They took the right decision to use Kamran Akmal as an opener but I think what they need to do is make Younis Khan bat at number three and Misbah at number four and give the responsibility of shepherding the top and lower order to both these experienced players,” Qadir said.
He pointed out that against tough opposition like India or Australia, the role of these two players would be essential.
“We beat Australia in the group match but if they make the semi-finals, the conditions in Mohali are different to Colombo and more to their liking and similarly if India make it to the last four, we need to use options to attack their top-order which is very strong,” he said.
Injured Sohail Tanvir credited the team’s victory to a very positive body language.
“It was Pakistan’s day today and the team gave us a perfect gift. I thought all the players played their roles very well today and never allowed the West Indies to come out of the early pressure exerted on them. But the team needs to carry on doing the basic things right and sustain the pressure if they want to win the World Cup.”