LAHORE - Pakistan spin coach Mushtaq Ahmed believes that the idea of carrying two leg spinners Shahid Afridi and Yasir Shah can help Pakistan cause in the upcoming World Cup after the bowling suspensions of Saeed Ajmal and M Hafeez.

Mushtaq said that the team could not have relied on any younger off-spinner to come in and play in a mega event like the World Cup. “Our plans have also been stuck because of what happened to Ajmal and Hafeez but when you don’t have a specific variety, you have to counter it with a different option,” said Mushtaq while talking to the reporters Friday.

“We were used to Saeed Ajmal, as he's our legend and has been our number one bowler, and it's very difficult to make a combination without him. But if you remember the scenario when Waqar Younis returned home due to injury before the 1992 World Cup … so this shouldn't be a problem. I will give credit to Saeed Ajmal, he always says teams don't win because of individuals, teams win if we play as a united team. We will feel his absence but the new players have to play their role and if we play as a unit I am hopeful we can deliver,” he added.

“Two leg-spinners have been selected keeping in mind they can be successful in Australia because of the bounce they can extract there. In 1992, Iqbal Sikander and I were in the same world cup team. I’ve had five-six successful tours of Australia so I’m optimistic that Afridi and Yasir will make a difference for Pakistan,” he added. However, he was quick to add that the team management would decide whether to field both leg-spinners in the same team or not as much would depend on the conditions and opponents on a match-day.

When asked how he sees Hafeez’s chances of return with the ball in time and whether Haris Sohail could be relied on, he replied: “We’re working really hard on Hafeez’s action and he is really keen as well to make a comeback so there is a hope that he would get cleared before premier event. As far as Haris is concerned, we can’t rely on him but he has shown good temperament against New Zealand, conceding less runs as compared to regular bowlers.”

Mushtaq, who was part of Pakistan's 1992 World Cup squad, said pitches in Australia are likely to help leg spinners considerably and they will prove to be a wicket-taking option in the showpiece event. "If you look back, leg spinners have been very successful in Australia. I have my personal experience; I have toured five-six times to Australia and have a very successful ratio bowling over there. The way Yasir Shah and Shahid Afridi have been bowling, I think they will make a difference for Pakistan as we do get bounce on the wickets of Australia and when a legspinner gets bounce, he becomes a wicket-taking option."

He said that he, along with head coach Waqar, was trying to develop belief in the team. "We don't have the ball in our hand, but we have lot of belief. If we believe that we can win, then our belief will be shifted onto the players. Waqar Younis is trying to develop this culture, whatever you have to do, you have to have belief. We are developing this culture."

Pakistan have completed a five-day camp and are now set to leave for New Zealand, where they will play a series of ODIs in the lead up to the World Cup.

As many as six cricketers and three Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials will visit Peshawar today (Saturday) to meet victims of the Army Public School.  The players who are visiting Peshawar are Pakistan cricket team captain Misbahul Haq, Yasir Shah, Umar Akmal M Irfan, Eshan Adil and Ahmad Shahzad while PCB officials include manager Naveed Akram Cheema, Col Azam and Shahid Aslam.