LAHORE - Former Pakistan cricket team captain and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Management Committee (MC) member Zaheer Abbas Thursday said that Pakistan could be the world's best team if they improved their batting and overcame the flaws they had made in the recent past.
Talking to the reporters during his visit to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) to check the preparations of the national team players and give them important tips regarding improving their batting, Zaheer said: “Pakistan players have potential and they can deliver if they play at their will so I am sure they will put in their best to defend the Asia Cup title and return home as champions.”
“I will do my best to help the batsmen overcome their problems and I am sure if our batting improves, we can be the world's top team," he added.
"What I have noticed is that our players want to learn which is a good omen and I will try to help them play according to the situation," he Zaheer stated.
He said that despite India's poor away tours in South Africa and New Zealand, the Pakistan team was not willing to take their arch-rivals and world champions lightly ahead of the Asia Cup, which began on February 25. Zaheer said there was no way his team would judge MS Dhoni's men on the basis of their performances in the recent ODIs - India have now six out of their last eight matches, tied one while another was washed out. "It would be a mistake to judge the Indian team on basis of their recent performances because the conditions are totally different in Bangladesh," he added.
"There will be something at the back of their minds that they lost these series but it will not be a factor to rule them out of the Asia Cup," he said. Zaheer, who is also the batting coach of the team, noted that conditions in Bangladesh had favoured batsmen and India had a strong batting line-up to exploit those conditions. "There is always that pressure of a Pakistan-India match so it is going to be difficult for both teams regardless of their recent results," Zaheer asserted.
"We are working hard in the camp to prepare for the Asia Cup and we have spoken about the fact that India has done better over us in ICC events and also beat us in the last Asia Cup and World T20," he said. Zaheer said that as batting coach he was explaining the batsmen importance of staying at the crease and playing positively. "As far as the batting is concerned if it starts to click consistently than I have no doubt that our team has the potential to not only win the tournament but also improve its rankings," he said. "My main focus has been to tell them that if someone is in and is batting well he needs to finish off the job not wait for others to do it," he said.
Pakistan will wrap up the four-day training camp on Friday and fly out to Dhaka the next day, where they open their Asia Cup title defence with a match against Sri Lanka on Tuesday while take on arch-rivals India on March 3.