Shirin Sadikot in Mohali
Wolves excited about young players
Team to also lean on Misbah, Ajmal for experience
Packed with young and unknown players, the Wolves team has two solid cogs in Misbah-ul-Haq and Saeed Ajmal. Going into the tournament, their wicketkeeper and vice-captain, Mohammad Salman, stressed on the fact that the young guns in his team are worth watching out.
“Barring Misbah and Ajmal, we mainly have young and upcoming cricketers in our squad,” Salman said. The teams that we beat at the domestic level had many superstars and still we managed to become the (Pakistan domestic T20) champions. It only shows how much potential our young players have and I am confident they are ready for the big stage.”
While Ajmal has been the toast of Pakistan cricket in all three formats since his Test debut in 2009, question marks are often raised over Misbah’s suitability to the shortest version, given that he is more of an anchor than destructor.
However, both Salman, and Wolves coach, Naveed Anjum, reiterated the importance of Misbah in the team’s batting line-up and the dressing room.
“Misbah performed brilliantly for us in the shorter versions, especially in the last season,” Anjum said. “He was the highest run-getter for us in our domestic T20 tournament. Besides being highly important to the team as a batsman, he plays a very crucial role as the leader of the pack.”
Salman also said that they had left no stone unturned at their end to prepare for the marquee T20 tournament.
“We have been practicing since two weeks. For a week we prepared at the local ground in Faisalabad, before moving to the National Cricket Academy in Lahore where we spent another week. So, we have been thoroughly preparing for this tournament. We were very confident of participating in this tournament,” he said.
The vice-captain also refuted the notion that the team from Pakistan starts as an underdog in a tournament full of international superstars, given the lack of international cricket in their country.
“Even though we don’t have international cricket happening in our country, the standard of our domestic cricket is very high,” he said. “And, like other teams, we too have come here in this tournament as the domestic T20 champions of our country. So, I don’t see the lack of international cricket in Pakistan making any difference to our performance.”
The coach, on the other hand, wished there was an IPL-style league played in Pakistan to make the local players more seasoned.
“There was a plan to play a domestic league-based T20 tournament in Pakistan, but it couldn’t go through. It would be very pleasing to have league cricket in Pakistan as it would give a career to more cricketers in the country and make them more competitive.”