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Dawn of a new era

LAHORE, April 10, 2015: Head coach of Pakistan national cricket team Waqar Younis has pointed out that it is a new era of Pakistan cricket with several fresh faces making the top ranks and hopefully they will serve the game in the next couple of years while giving their best performance.

He was talking to the media here at the Gaddafi Stadium, where Pakistan team is involved in training for the series against Bangladesh which will start from April 17.

He further maintained that the selected players have got the talent and the opportunity has come across for them to perform.

Expressing his surprise over his report on the World Cup discussed in the media, he said that he has given all his reservations to the cricket board and it has also implemented some of my recommendations. Without going into to further details, Waqar said that the main thing in his report he has mentioned about Pakistan cricket is the attitude, which should be looked at while some other aspects needed to be addressed are the fitness, improvement in fielding as seen during the World Cup.

“There are certain things which required to be addressed otherwise Pakistan cricket would be left far behind and I am happy that Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has taken certain steps on my advice,” he believed.

He further stated that he has nothing against any senior players who feel he was very hard on them. “As far as my efforts are concerned I have always played and worked for Pakistan cricket. My effort is that Pakistan team should be one of the best and if someone dislikes my exertion, I can't do anything,” he stressed.

He praised Pakistan bowlers for their efforts in the World Cup. He commented that bowler’s performance in the World Cup especially mentioning Rahat Ali and Wahab Riaz’s important role.

“Pakistan has been known for battery of fast bowlers and I hope the Pakistan A and under-19 tours will bring to the fore new pacers,” he added.

He further stated that work is required to be done on Pakistan A and under-19 teams to get better players.

 “Our bowlers delivered well in the World Cup but the batsmen disappointed us. We have always had good bowlers in our armory but for the new guys to come in and deliver in such a big event was a very good sign.

“Especially, Rahat came in and did well and Wahab also took a stand for Pakistan with his bowling.”

Furthermore, he said that team management is constantly looking forward to welcoming new talent.

“We are keeping an eye on the A team tours and also the domestic structure to find young talent. We are keeping an eye on everything. We also need to take care of the stadiums so that if cricket comes back in Pakistan we should not be lacking behind.

To a question of dropping certain players and having a few new faces in the team, Waqar made it clear that it is a Pakistan team and who ever performs for the country will have a place in the team. “Any player showing attitude for the Pakistan team will play and it has nothing to do with my World Cup report. I think what selection committee felt better it did and I believe this team heading to Bangladesh will display proper team spirit,” he added. 

When asked if Ahmed Shehzad was only restricted to the T20 side because of his report he said: “This team is not mine and neither is it yours. This is Pakistan’s cricket team and whoever will play for Pakistan he will be given preference.”

“My report did not make any difference on selection. The selectors did what they deemed best for the team and in the upcoming series you will see that the new players will be oozing with team spirit.”

Waqar said that off-spinner Saeed Ajmal has the experience to make a solid comeback and will deliver for the team against Bangladesh.

“We should appreciate Ajmal for all the hard work he has done to come back. He has worked really hard in the last eight months to make a comeback in the team.

“He has won a lot of matches for Pakistan in the past and I can see that he is in a good form. This would be his first chance with the new bowling action and it would be a chance for us as well to test his effectiveness. As far as I believe his experience will come in handy and he will be successful,” he believed.

He said that it would be the first opportunity for Ajmal to show what he has achieved and where does he stand.

At the start of the press conference he said that all his decision are made keeping Pakistan team’s interests in mind.

“I have myself always played for Pakistan and I always try to make the team better,” he said.

“Everyone has their own view but I appreciate the criticism from people who are important to me but I ignore people who do not mean anything to me.”

Moreover, he talked about Azhar’s chance at the ODI helm to prove himself as a worthy captain.

“In cricket, you have to move on and if you don’t you will lag behind other team. We have involved new players in this series and we will keep on indulging new players but Azhar has a chance to prove his mettle now. Misbahul [Haq] and Younis [Khan] have served Pakistan a lot and you will also see them in action in Tests.”

“We have some very talented young players in the team for the tours as well such as Sami Aslam and Babar Azam. I am hoping they will avail the opportunity.”

He also said that it is going to be a tough series against a new-face Bangladesh side.

“Of course, it will be a tough series. Bangladesh have improved a lot and they are fine side now. We won't be taking them easy.

“We have a young lot of players with us. The energy of the team will be different this time. We should not put a lot pressure on the youngsters but I believe they are capable enough to do the job,” he added.

In his concluding remarks what is required from the players is the will and attitude to play. “Attitude is very important in cricket. You have to play for your country. You have been selected out of the 20 crore population, so when you step inside the boundary you have to give it all,” he urged.