Never write off Pakistan: Azhar Mahmood sends strong message before T20 World Cup

Written by Vipin Darwade

Azhar Mahmood said that one should “never write off Pakistan” in big ICC events. Mahmood, who is in charge as the head coach of the national team for the 5-match T20I series against New Zealand, backed Pakistan to do well in the upcoming T20 World Cup in the West Indies and United States of America (USA). Although they have played in semi-finals and finals of various multi-nation tournaments, they are yet to win a major ICC event after the 2017 Champions Trophy.

“Our strength is pure talent and skill. We’ve performed decently on the world stage in the format, and we’ve recently featured in the World Cup finals (2022) and semi-finals (2021). We know we haven’t won a big tournament since 2009 (Men’s T20 World Cup) or the Champions Trophy (2017). But you can never write off the Pakistan team, especially in the T20 format,” Mahmood said in the pre-series press conference.

Mahmood said that Pakistan have a lot of depth in their squad, but certain aspects of their game need improvement.

“We’ve the depth and strength, but there are always areas for improvement. Looking at those aspects, especially in the areas that we’ve lagged behind, is something that I’ve worked on.”

Earlier, Pakistan gave maiden national call-ups to Irfan Niazi and Usman Khan, who holds the record for the fastest hundred in the history of the PSL off 36 balls. The hosts also recalled Mohammad Amir and Imad Wasim, who both came out of retirement.

“So till the World Cup, we’d like to develop a structure and game plan, to give role clarity to players. In our squad, we’ve young talent Irfan Niazi, Azam (Khan) and Usman Khan. So definitely, we’ve to give these players a look. We need to use our bench strength,” Mahmood said.

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Vipin Darwade