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Mohammad Hafeez chats with team coach Dav Whatmore, left, and teammate Umar Akmal during a practice session in Sri Lanka in June. – Photo by AP
Mohammad Hafeez chats with team coach Dav Whatmore, left, and teammate Umar Akmal during a practice session in Sri Lanka in June. – Photo by AP

LAHORE, Aug 17: Pakistan head coach Dav Whatmore was upbeat on Friday about his side’s chances at the World Twenty20, welcoming the opportunity for his players to prepare in the Sri Lankan league.

Nearly all Pakistan players selected for the Sept 18-Oct 7 tournament in Sri Lanka feature in this month’s Sri Lankan Premier League (SLPL).

Whatmore, 58, who was appointed in March and coached Sri Lanka to their 1996 World Cup title, said his players will get good practice in the venues where the World Twenty20 will be held.

“There is an opportunity for some of the boys to participate in the SLPL and it’s a good thing and I have no problem with it,” Whatmore told reporters here at the National Cricket Academy.

“At least they are playing on ground and in the similar conditions and in those two grounds where we are going to play our matches,” added Whatmore of the World Twenty20 competition where Pakistan are placed in Group ‘D’ alongside Bangladesh and New Zealand.

“There are a few other [countries] doing the same thing and they are getting good practice.”

Pakistan take on Australia this month and next in a limited overs series in the United Arab Emirates, comprising three One-day Internationals and three Twenty20s.

“We will do our best to perform in the conditions, which are close to the conditions in Pakistan, but certainly it won’t be in Pakistan.

“The selectors have given us a group of players who are competitive enough to give us the right results and win the games.”

The first ODI will be played in Sharjah on Aug 28. The next two matches will be in Abu Dhabi on Aug 31 and Sharjah on Sept 3. The three Twenty20 matches will be played in Dubai on Sept 5, 7 and 10.

Whatmore reckoned Pakistan can do well in the World Twenty20.

“Every team has started taking this form of the game more seriously... we have a good team for this format,” stated Whatmore.

Pakistan were runners-up in the inaugural World Twenty20 in 2007, won the 2009 event held in England and finished semi-finalists in 2010 in the West Indies.

The coach said all teams have good squads but warned “it’s a volatile form of game”.—AFP