Pakistan Twenty20 captain Mohammad Hafeez and Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene pose with the trophy. -Photo by AP

COLOMBO: Pakistan are hoping to build on their impressive record over the past year when they take the field during the full tour of Sri Lanka starting later this week.

“The task here is to win, but the longer goal is to take Pakistan high up in the rankings in all three formats,” Pakistan coach Dav Whatmore said at the series launch in Colombo on Monday night.

“It's a simple statement, but it requires a lot of work,” he said ahead of the seven-week tour which comprises three Tests, five one-day internationals and two Twenty20 games.

The talented but often unpredictable Pakistan national team have shown consistent winning form over the last 12 months despite being unable to play at home due to security concerns since an attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in 2009.

Pakistan have won seven of their last nine Test matches, including a 3-0 whitewash of top-ranked England in the United Arab Emirates earlier this year.

Their record in limited-overs cricket has been equally impressive, winning 16 of their last 22 one-day games, topped by the Asia Cup title triumph in Bangladesh in March.

The two Twenty20 games in southern Hambantota on Friday and Sunday provide both teams with a useful build-up for the World Twenty20 tournament to be held in Sri Lanka in September-October.

The Sri Lankans have had an inconsistent year in which they managed just two wins in 14 Tests with six defeats, and lost 21 of their last 35 one-day internationals.

Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene praised Pakistan's recent record and saw a good challenge ahead for his home team.

“If you take their performances in the last six months, they have performed really well in all three formats,” he said.

“To play them in our conditions is a good challenge.”

Australian Whatmore, a former Sri Lankan coach who guided Arjuna Ranatunga's men to the World Cup title in 1996, said Pakistan were ready for what would be a tough tour on the field.

“Although Pakistan is unable to play any international matches at home due to the security concerns, they managed to practice together before coming to Sri Lanka,” the coach said.

“We had a pretty decent two-week camp before we came here.”Whatmore insisted his insider's knowledge of Sri Lankan cricket would not give Pakistan any advantage.

“It was a long time ago when I finished with Sri Lanka and a lot of water has passed under the bridge,” he said. “I maintain some friendships which are always good but the task here is to win.”

Pakistan's new Twenty20 captain Mohammad Hafeez said victory over Sri Lanka in all three formats in the United Arab Emirates last year had boosted his team's morale.

“We all know Sri Lanka are always good on their own soil, but we have had good success against them in the UAE,” said Hafeez, who will be vice-captain to Misbah-ul-Haq in the Tests and the one-dayers.

Sri Lanka's chairman of selectors, Ashantha de Mel, said his team needed to be wary of Pakistan's leading spinners Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman, who will play a key role in the Test and one-day series.

“It is the Pakistani spinners we need to be careful of,” he said. “Ajmal and Rehman are of a different class compared to our spinners. Only Rangana Herath comes anywhere close to them.”

Tour schedule: June 1 : First Twenty20 international, Hambantota June 3 : Second Twenty20 international, Hambantota June 7 : First one-dayer, Pallekele June 9 : Second one-dayer, Pallekele June 13: Third one-dayer, Colombo June 16: Fourth one-dayer, Colombo June 18: Fifth one-dayer, Colombo June 22-26: First Test, Galle June 30-July 4: Second Test, Colombo July 8-12: Third Test, Pallekele

 

Updated May 29, 2012 07:41am

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Comments (5) (Closed)


syed javed mustafa
May 29, 2012 09:36am
Pakistan is good team but they have to listen seniors seriously and apply accordingly. This is bad luck for Pakistani team due to poor leader ship they could play game at their soil. We are hopeful that future Govt will solve security problem permanently so foregn team can come without any fear.
Azam Chowdhry
May 29, 2012 12:12pm
I am confident that Insha Allah our team will do a great job in all formats. They are very talented but need to keep the politics and personal conflicts out and play as a disciplined team. Insha Allah they will make the nation proud of them.
dreamgirl
May 29, 2012 05:11pm
i am confident that our team will win IN SHA ALLAH they r capable of doing it as they can do more it's really sad that pakistan is unable to organaise any home series due to security reasons we all wish them that they can win & tell to the world that as they demoralaise us we will come more and more upper
Arshed
May 30, 2012 05:56am
Seeming Evenly poised twenty twenty affair, but ODI's PAK abide rim, Test PAK lack Senior caps what Srilanka have at present.
Muzamil kuchay
May 31, 2012 05:03am
shahid afridi is better t20 captain Muzamil kuchay