Karachi: Despite Pakistan scoring an emphatic six-wicket victory over South Africa in a warm-up game, chief selector Iqbal Qasim still has concerns about the team's fragile batting line-up with the ICC Champions Trophy due to start this week.
"We won convincingly against South Africa in the warm-up game but I would be lying if I say I don't have concerns about the batting line-up given our recent performances," said Qasim.
"It is true that our batting might look short of experience but in reality the batting combination being tried out in the lead up matches is pretty experienced. The presence of Imran Farhat, Mohammad Hafeez, Misbah, Shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal in the middle order is a big plus for the team," he said.
The national selectors dropped seniors Younis Khan and Shahid Afridi for the Champions Trophy in a major decision citing their recent poor form and have constantly ignored experienced all-rounder Abdul Razzaq since the T20 World Cup held last year in September.
Qasim, however, put his trust and confidence in skipper Misbah-ul-Haq's batting and said his renewed approach spells a good sign for the team.
"I see Misbah as the key to shouldering batting responsibility," said Qasim, a former Test spinner.
"He has to not only lead the team sensibly but also he is batting at a crucial number five position where he has to accelerate when necessary, bat out overs where required and also give the finishing touch to the innings in final overs. His present batting form is a good omen for the team. If a captain is in good form, it is always good for the team because he can lead by example and instill confidence in others. This rubs off on the other players, especially the younger ones," he added.
Misbah is experiencing a purple patch with a score of 334 runs from eight matches, including an impressive run in the five-match series against South Africa. He was the top-scorer in the domestic Super Eight Twenty20 tournament besides finishing amongst the highest run-getters in the President's Cup.
Qasim said Pakistan possess a capable pace and spin attack to counter the English conditions.
"A lot will depend on the sort of pitches and conditions we get in the tournament. The good thing is that we have a capable pace and spin attack which is confident enough to perform against any opposition and any one of them can give impact performance. The team has the potential to do well and if all players contribute, then we would have high chances of winning the tournament," he added.
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