Pallekele conditions will be challenging: Misbah

PALLEKELE, March 7: Misbah-ul-Haq said the conditions will test both Pakistan and New Zealand for their World Cup match here on Tuesday in what will be the first ever One-day International at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.

The Pakistan vice-captain, while addressing the pre-game media conference, said the untested environment would be equally challenging for both the sides because these teams have not played at this venue before.

“Of course, it is difficult not only for us but anybody who has to play at a new venue about which nobody has any statistics or ideas how to plan the strategies, particularly under lights,” Misbah said. “But we have to manage and handle the situation. The wicket, as it appears at the moment, suggests that it is hard with a bit of grass and some bounce. Let us wait and see what it [the pitch] eventually does when the match starts tomorrow afternoon.”

Misbah, when reminded that New Zealand were considering him as the main thorn in their side following the veteran batsman’s wonderful form, said: “It is one of the strategies of any team to target certain batsmen. But if New Zealand are targeting me over my recent form, they must also remember there are other fine batsmen who come before me and some of them can also damage the Kiwis.

“Every batsman is important and we have been playing six of them plus two all-rounders. We hope the top-order batsmen get the runs as they did in New Zealand.”

Misbah said Pakistan have had extensive batting and fielding sessions after the Canada match which was an eye-opener for his team and nearly produced an upset result.

“Well obviously, we have been working hard to rectify the mistakes committed against Canada. Sometimes when you don’t do well in some department, you work harder to improve in those.

“In the last match, the conditions suited the Canadians on a slow pitch with the cloud cover helping their  seamers. Everyday is not like that and we hope to do well tomorrow because the team had performed well in New Zealand,” added Misbah.