Waqar wants to end ODI series on a high

Posted By: Pti

Karachi, Feb 4 (PTI) The Pakistan coach Waqar Younis, iskeen to end the one-day series against New Zealand on awinning note after his team wrapped up the series on Thursdayin Hamilton.

Waqar told Pakistani reporters in Hamilton that theseries win was a great boost for the team ahead of the WorldCup and the side had developed into a confident fighting unitunder the captaincy of Shahid Afridi.

Waqar comment''s came after Pakistan manager, IntikhabAlam told reporters in Hamilton that the captaincy debate wasover and the flamboyant all-rounder would be leading the teamin the World Cup.

"Yes Afridi will lead the team in the World Cup but thePakistan Cricket Board will make an official announcement onFriday," he said.

Waqar said that Afridi had done well to blend out a goodone-day combination for the World Cup.

"The biggest plus point is that our fielding has finallyshown signs of improvement and we took some great catches andexecuted run-outs in the series," Waqar said.

But the former Pakistan captain cautioned his players toremember that the pressure would be greater in the World Cupand the opposition would also be tougher.

"Right now, I have told the players to just focus on thelast one-day match because we must end this series with a winand a 4-1 margin."

"Waqar said he was upbeat about the World Cup because thebench strength of the Pakistan team was also capable ofwinning matches. We are not playing Saeed Ajmal since he has afinger injury and we didn''t want to take any risks with him soclose to the World Cup."

"But in the final match we might give outings to AsadShafiq and Abdul Rehman," he added.

The former pacer also had words of praise for fastbowler, Shoaib Akhtar saying that he had bowled well and wasvery committed to performing well.

"We have three pacers in our team capable of bowling over90 miles per hour and that is a good sign specially the wayWahab Riaz is maturing and the way Umar Gul is carrying theresponsibility of being the senior bowler in the side," hesaid.

Many of Pakistan''s former test players have cautioned thenational team to be well prepared mentally for a tough WorldCup and not to read too much into the triumph in New Zealandalthough it was Pakistan''s first ODI series win after 2008.

"It is a good thing that we have the series but we mustnot forget New Zealand is not among the strongest sides of theworld....

"But what has impressed me is that the youngsters likeAhmed Shehzad and Wahab Riaz have come forward and put uptheir hands to perform well which augurs well for the WorldCup," former captain, Zaheer Abbas said.

Story first published: Friday, February 4, 2011, 15:30 [IST]
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