DUBAI: Pakistan Test and ODI captain Misbah-ul-Haq is confident that his side has the right preparation in place for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
"I always say that cricket is all about confidence. At the moment most of the guys are in good shape and have the confidence. So I hope they put up a better show as a team and as individuals. Its also an important series before the World Cup. Its the last chance for us to just look into the things how we are going into the World Cup. So everybody will be focussed and everybody just wants to put up a good show," said Misbah.
The Pakistan captain was speaking before the start of the ODI series against New Zealand. Misbah felt that the side was at the right stage because the side was buiding up confidence.
"I always believe that confidence is the main thing. If your momentum is good and if you are on the winning side and if your momentum is just towards winning, that really helps you. It doesn't matter if you are playing on different surfaces because as a team, as players, as batsmen specially, you need confidence on your back. If you are performing really well, scoring runs, you could handle those different kinds of surfaces really well. But if you are short of confidence and you are not performing, then its really difficult to perform even in different sorts of conditions."
Misbah backed the return of Younis Khan to the ODI side and felt that he is in the peak of his form.
"I think he is in good touch, the way he played in the last two Test series. So, he is in good shape. That's gonna really help him. (It) doesn't matter that he is playing in a one-day competition or because he played on those same surfaces against top quality bowlers and performed well, so I think it will be okay. Sometimes, it is difficult just because you are coming back in the one-dayers. But I think he has seen it enough, he is experienced enough to handle those sort of conditions," said Misbah on Younis.
In fact Misbah felt there would be collateral benefits in having Younis in the line-up.
"Its always important because these kind of players they are experienced, they know the situations of the game, they can handle those situations and whenever these sort of players are in, you can just say that okay they are gonna win the game for you. So its always important that kind of guy. He is gonna help other youngsters there, how to just go about the game. So, its really important for us."
It is still not known in what position Younis will bat. But Misbah revealed that Younis will receive total support from the side.
"The thinking is that now that we have him here, we give him full confidence. Because even as a senior you require the backing. It is not right to tell him that you are playing on a trial basis. We will try that the way his role is, the way his performances have been, the way his form is, we will try to support him fully because he can play in a relaxed fashion. In this situation he can play a very good role for the side," said Misbah.
Misbah also insisted that the team was not tired and that the side was really keen to get into the action.
"I would never say that could be the excuse that we played five Test matches that's why the team was a little bit tired. We were not playing cricket for last three-four months, I think we were missing cricket. And we really want to play cricket before the World Cup. And we are really focussed, we are looking forward to this series and put our 100 per cent in this series. Just try to play good cricket and try to win this series."
The focus of the ODI series, according to Misbah would be to get the combination of the side right before the World Cup.
"We will try that where we are trying to discover some things, there we may experiment a bit. But there are certain areas where we want to settle downn going into the World Cup, we will try there to consistently give chance and confidence to some players who we think may feature in the World Cup. If we want to try a few things to get used to conditions during the World Cup, we may experiment a bit," added Misbah.
As part of the experimentation, Sarfraz Ahmed may continue to open the batting in the one-dayers too. But the focus of the think-tank is to get a settled look in the top four positions of the batting line-up.
The other player that Misbah is looking to work with is fast bowler Mohammad Irfan.
"Till now how we are going with Irfan is just to protect him. Just to give him enough practice, just to give him enough confidence to play the games and also just to protect him for the World Cup, because we don't want to lose him. He will have a tremendous impact in the World Cup. Here also you saw the kind of bounce he was getting. In Australia he could really make a difference. So we will have to use him quite sensibly and that's what we are trying to do," said Irfan.
Misbah also praised New Zealand andd said that they are worth yopponents.
"New Zealand has adapatability. If you saw them playing in West Indies, there you have similar conditions, because you have slow and turning pitches there. They performed well there as well. Especially this New Zealand side has quite a few players who play spin quite well and also play well on slow pitches. That I think is their big advantage. They have very good all-rounders. This New Zealand team also if you saw them inthe T20I, their three spinners bowled well. They have developed the quality to win on these kind of pitches (in the UAE). They have three spinners and they also have batsmen who play spinners well in the middle. Such a team can always surprise you," concluded Misbah.