Pakistan, Sports News : Pakistan’s 15-man squad flew out of Lahore for Colombo late on Monday night with Test skipper Misbah-ul-Haq announcing that his boys will go all out for victory against Sri Lanka.
The team will play three Tests, five One-day Internationals and two Twenty20 games against the hosts, with the aim of qualifying for the 2017 Champions Trophy in England.
Pakistan, currently ninth in one-day rankings, must beat Sri Lanka to get to the eighth spot or better before the September 30 cut off date for the Champions Trophy, which will feature the top eight teams.
The three-Test series will get underway on June 17 at Galle and will conclude on July 7. The remaining two Tests will be in Colombo from June 25-29 and the third at Pallekele from July 3-7.
The five-match ODI series will begin on July 11 with the series concluding with two Twenty 20 matches.
“Our players are in good form and I believe that we stand a good chance of winning in Sri Lanka,” Misbah said ahead of the tour.
Misbah believes that his players were confident after winning the two-Test series against Bangladesh as well as the limited-overs matches at home against Zimbabwe last month.
Pakistan will be without ace off-spinner Saeed Ajmal who was overlooked by national selectors because of his indifferent form since making a comeback to international cricket.
Misbah admitted that Pakistan will miss Ajmal’s services but was quick to add that he has enough firepower in his bowling arsenal to give Sri Lanka a run for their money.
Earlier, coach Waqar Younis expressed confidence the cricket squad would achieve targets in Tests and one-day series in Sri Lanka.
Waqar said he believed the team would reach the Champions Trophy.
“We have set targets for Tests as well as one-day series and hope that the team does well on the tour to achieve the targets and I am confident that we will qualify for the Champions Trophy,” Waqar told AFP.
Since Waqar took over in June last year, Pakistan had lost five one-day series before beating Zimbabwe at home 2-0 last month — a series which revived international cricket in Pakistan after six years.
“As a coach there is always pressure on you, it’s there even when you are winning. Unfortunately we have lost five series but you must consider a lot of factors – the biggest of them all was losing Saeed Ajmal,” said Waqar of the ace spinner not selected for the Tests against Sri Lanka.
Waqar said both Pakistan and Sri Lanka are in the rebuilding phase.
“They (Sri Lanka) lost some of their senior players and we have also lost some seniors so it will take time to rebuild the one-day teams but a tour to Sri Lanka is always tough,” said Waqar. AFP