LAHORE – Pakistan Twenty20 team captain M Hafeez Thursday says his young and energetic squad hasn’t played enough international cricket recently ahead of the start of Sri Lanka tour but the practice matches at the home ground will prove blessing for them in this regard.

“My players are missing international cricket but I hope next week’s four practice matches among the Pakistan squads will help them get back in the rhythm,” Hafeez said. “No Pakistan player is taking part in the ongoing Indian Premier League Twenty20 competition in which numerous international players are playing. They are not only in a great form but also ready to deliver for their teams but unfortunately, Pakistan players have played very less T20 internationals and we will try our best to overcome this deficiency by playing practice matches among our squads,” the T20 captain added.

Lauding the decision of the selection committee, Hafeez said the selection committee had first time selected the domestic cricket’s best performers for the tour. “The selection committee has chosen the best suitable lot for me and now it is my duty to guide and groom my squad well and give them confidence so that they may play well for themselves as well as for the country. With the help of head coach Dav Whatmore, I am endeavouring hard to make the dressing room atmosphere better and friendly and I will try my best to boost harmony and unity among them.”

Terming Sri Lanka a tough opponent, Hafeez said that Sri Lanka were a good and tough team but Pakistan team would give winning performance to beat Lankans at their own backyard. Commenting on non-availability of his opening partner Nasir Jamshed, he said: “Nasir’s presence in the team resolved the opening issue but unfortunately he has injured his index finger and not available for the tour. I hope he will get well soon and join the team. If there will be need of any replacement, the selection committee will inform us.”

Talking about senior players Younus Khan and Misbahul Haq, he said: “Younus and Misbah are good players but now they are not playing in the T20 format. Ahmed Shahzad is in great form as he played brilliantly in Bangladesh Twenty20 League while Khalid Latif also exhibited his prowess in domestic cricket so they are good replacements. The presence of experienced Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi also made the combination lethal.”

He rejected a questioner that leading the side can be a big factor to hamper his performance as an opener. “For me, captaincy is not a pressure rather an added responsibility and I will remain focus on improving my performance as a batsman,” he said.