‘Winning against India will give us much-needed momentum’, says Mohammad Hafeez

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

“I am very happy that our first match is against India”

Pakistan Twenty20 captain Mohammad Hafeez has announced that “winning against India will give us much-needed momentum” for the rest of the World Twenty20.

Hafeez admitted that he was excited about Pakistan starting off their World Twenty20 campaign with a high-anticipated match against their arch-rivals.

“Winning against India will give us much-needed momentum,” Hafeez said. “It’s a pressure game wherever you play against them. You have pressure from the media, your nation and when you perform well against them it gets easy for you. It’s a very important game for us. As a player, also as a captain, I am very happy that our first match is against India and from there we can take off.”

However, Pakistan, who won the World Twenty20 in 2009, recently lost to Sri Lanka in the final of the Asia Cup.

“You have to be positive in your thinking against all the teams and guard against complacency,” he said. “Two things are very important in a big tournament – one is momentum which you have to carry, and we performed well in the Asia Cup. The second is luck and with the prayers of our countrymen, the luck factor will also be with us.

“The approach is clear as we have to play hard cricket and there should be no fear of failure. In short-form cricket you can’t recover if you make a mistake, and we will try not to commit mistakes.”

Hafeez was also quick to dismiss rumours that many players are currently struggling with injuries.

“We have one week with a couple of warm-up games to tune up the side and everyone is acquainted with the conditions in Bangladesh,” he said. “Fitness might have been the concern during the Asia Cup but it happens when you play back-to-back matches. Everyone is fine. Afridi’s is not that serious and he will be fit. He is going through rehab and as a captain I need a fit Afridi, that’s why we have given him time.”

Hafeez also admitted that Pakistan’s pace duo of Junaid Khan and Umar Gul have not been living up to their expectations as of late.

“The performance of the fast bowlers will be key for us because they have to play their roles with both the new and old ball,” Hafeez said. “Mohammad Akram (bowling coach) is working hard with both of them in the nets, but in the end it’s up to them to go out and deliver. We have to support them.”

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