ISLAMABAD - Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif has termed tough poll in World T20 is like blessing in disguise for green caps and it would certainly boost their morals prior to the crunch clash with archrivals India.

Latif expressed these views during an exclusive interview with The Nation on Sunday. He said Pakistan don’t have any world class spinner in their ranks apart from skipper Shahid Afridi and it could hurt Pakistan chances in the mega event. “But I really believe, it could be perfect stage for young gun like Immad Wasim to prove his enormous talent to the world,” he added.

Latif said Australia, New Zealand, India make the group very very tough for Pakistan but it doesn’t mean Pakistan are out of the semi-finals race. “Pakistan still hold the edge. If pitch behaves in different manner and the ball started to spin other way around, it could enhance Pakistan chances of not only beating Aussies, Kiwis but also Indians as well. History is in India’s favour but people always compare Pakistan for the recent past performances, which according to me stands nothing. Pakistan team always bounces back in style.”

The former captain feels that Pakistan badly misses the services of Saeed Ajmal, the magician and Muhamamd Hafeez, in bowling department.

“Saeed was the main difference in Pakistani team. He was the one who was bowling in the depth overs. Now we don’t have a single quality bowler, who could bowl the last overs and not concede too many runs. I strongly believe that Aamir is highly misused as he finished his quota of overs by the 17th over in most of the matches. In my personal opinion, Aamir must be hold for 18th and 20th over as he is the only present bowler, who could restrict any top batting side from scoring free flowing runs.”

When asked about Wahab Riaz looked completely off-colour, Latif said it was quite surprising that Wahab was not looking anywhere near to what he was in the past as he was bowling straight forward deliveries, which batsmen were reading easily and scoring runs on his ordinary bowling. “He must bring same aggression and required change in his bowling. I am surprised what the team management and especially head coach Waqar Younus are doing. Waqar looked nervous and instead of backing the team and lifting their morals, his shoulders are down, which is not a good sign. Waqar must rectify his mistakes and interact with players.”

Latif said he strongly believes that Afrdi holds the key if Pakistan want to progress in the event and onus is on Afridi to lead from the front as he is a big match player and his vast experience could make the difference between early exit and title. “Things are difficult, but players must not care about the hostile crowd and instead use the crowd pressure to motivate themselves.”

He said team management must keep the same combination for at least first two matches and senior players like Hafeez, Shoaib Malik and Afridi must have to come up with goods for the team. “I strongly suggest Sharjeel should play in the middle of the innings as for the last couple of matches, it is the middle order, which is not performing and not scoring enough runs in the depth overs. The openers must understand the importance of first six overs. No matter if Pakistan lose two wickets and score 55 to 60 runs in circle overs. It would almost ensure around 100 runs in last 14 overs, which means Pakistan put around 160 plus runs on the board and with likes of Aamir, Irfan and Wahab, I am sure, it would be very competitive total for any given opponent to chase down easily.”

When asked about which combination should Pakistan team enter and should Sami play in the opening encounter, Latif said he thinks think Smai should not play in the first two matches and Khalid Latif should be included in the playing Xi and he should come at number 6. “I am sure, he would score enough runs without consuming too many deliveries. Hafeez and Ahmed Shahzad should open, Malik at number 3, Umar at 4 and then according to situation, Afridi should consider promoting himself if the situation demands a player like him to come up the order.”

He said Nawaz is a specialist batsman and he should also be used up in the order and should not be be used as main bowler. “If Anwar Ali is in the playing XI then he should bowl with new ball, as opponents normally play first few over carefully, while he could bowl in middle after initial spell. Anwar can’t bowl depth overs. It would be Aamir, who is the ideal bowler for the last overs as with pace and movement, he could deliver the wonders for team. Our prayers and the best wishes are with green caps and they must fight like tigers and forget about fear factor.”