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Waqar Younis: With tough games on the horizon, Pakistan must perform against Sri Lanka

  • Pakistan beat hosts England in their last game and face Sri Lanka next 
  • Pakistan’s young players must learn to deal with the pressure of international cricket

It’s a cliché but we’re back to that word with Pakistan – inconsistency.

Sometimes frustrating and often brilliant, their two matches so far have been opposites of each other.

It is a very difficult thing to answer because Pakistan have always been like that. It is not something new, if you go back to the 1980s and even 1970s, it has always been the same.

I think it goes back to the system and the way we are brought up in Pakistan. We pick very young players and they don’t always come through a controlled system. Everyone is different.

Some disappear quickly because they struggle to handle the pressure and are replaced by another young guy but those who do handle it just carry on and become greats of the game.

There are a lot of examples of guys like that, such as Wasim Akram, myself and Inzamam-ul-Haq.

We hardly ever played first-class cricket before making our international debuts. Once you get through your first couple of years of international cricket, you never look back.

We have also changed things far too often in the domestic game back home so players can struggle to build a rhythm.

The result is that you never know what are going to get with Pakistan, you never know which side of the bed they are going to get out of.

Against England, they rebounded superbly from that opening loss to the West Indies.

The capability is there, and they have the capacity to do special things. They need to be positive in every game. There is no doubt they were hurt by what happened against the West Indies and they came out to prove a point.

The pressure was mounting on the players, the management and the captain. They were in it up to their nose and as you burn your chances, you take more risks.

Now, it’s time for another big game against Sri Lanka. I saw them take on Afghanistan and don’t think they are a team that need to be feared. However, Pakistan cannot take them lightly.

Look at Bangladesh - beating the mighty South Africa, you cannot take anyone lightly. Sri Lanka are not playing their best currently, but that does not matter.

That win would have cleared their minds and, like Pakistan, they will be brimming with confidence. When you have a bad start and then win a game, you start to feel good about yourself.

Look at the way Lasith Malinga bowled. He was superb and showed he still has something about him. On their day, they can beat anyone.

Pakistan’s fixtures get interesting from here with Australia and India, who are both playing well, on the horizon.

They are both formidable sides and so a win against Sri Lanka is important for us.

Courtesy: ICC