Pakistan's focus is not only on India: Mushtaq Ahmed

Pakistan's spin bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed says that while it's important to prepare for World Cup opener against India, they will also need to have clear cut plans for every other team in the tourney

Karachi: Pakistan’s spin bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed feels if they do well to beat India in their opening encounter of the 2015 World Cup, it will help his team perform better in the rest of the tournament.

Indian players celebrate a Pakistan wicket in the 2011 World Cup semis at Mohali. Inset: Mushtaq Ahmed.
Indian players celebrate a Pakistan wicket in the 2011 World Cup semis at Mohali. Inset: Mushtaq Ahmed.

Defending champions India take on their arch-rivals at the Adelaide Oval on February 15. He said any match against India was always one full of expectations for both nations and hard fought. “It is our opening game of the World Cup against India and if we do well it will serve us well in the rest of the tournament,” Mushtaq told reporters here yesterday.

However, Mushtaq made it clear that their focus was not just on preparing well for their opening clash. “It would be a folly to just focus on preparing hard for the opening match against India and we will have to go into the World Cup with clear cut plans for every opposing team only then can we hope to do well in the tournament,” he added.

Mushtaq also said that head coach, Waqar Younis had focused on increasing the confidence level of the players. “It is one area he has focused a lot on and I think if our players play with confidence and self-believe in the World Cup than they can surprise many teams,” he said.

The former Pakistan leggie believes that spinners will have a key role to play in the forthcoming World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Spinners will be key
Despite the fact that pacemen usually dominated on the pitches in Australia and New Zealand, Mushtaq felt spinners would play a key role. “With the passage of time spinners have become necessary attacking and containing options in every country in the 50-overs format. The reason for this is primarily because the behavior of pitches nowadays in ODIs is more or less standard with a few exceptions here and there,” he said.

Mushtaq conceded that the suspensions on bowling by Saeed Ajmal and Muhammad Hafeez would affect Pakistan’s performances in the World Cup to some extent.

“Obviously because Ajmal, Hafeez and Shahid Afridi have carried the brunt of the spin bowling for Pakistan in one-day internationals in recent years so it will make a difference.” But at the same time, Mushtaq noted that Pakistan was not short on spin talent. “I think the way Zulfiqar Babar and Yasir Shah responded in the recent Test series against Australia and New Zealand.”

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