Asia Cup: Mushtaq backs pace trio to deliver despite Shaheen's absence

Mushtaq said that Hasnain, Shah and Rauf can change the game on any given day



The Pakistan squad trained at Oval 2, ICC Academy, Dubai, on Thursday. (PCB Twitter)
The Pakistan squad trained at Oval 2, ICC Academy, Dubai, on Thursday. (PCB Twitter)
by

James Jose

Published: Thu 25 Aug 2022, 9:15 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Aug 2022, 9:16 PM

Pakistan coach Saqlain Mushtaq played down the absence of a star left-arm quick Shaheen Shah Afridi in their squad for the Asia Cup and said that the trio of Mohammad Hasnain, Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf are more than capable of delivering in the competition.

It is believed that India, whom they play in a blockbuster encounter on ‘Super Sunday,’ and their much-vaunted batting line-up, are susceptible to left-arm pace, as was evident more recently in the T20 World Cup in the UAE in 2021.

But Mushtaq said that Hasnain, Shah and Rauf can change the game on any given day.

“Over a period of time, these three (Naseem, Hasnain and Rauf) have executed the plans and the requirements of the Pakistan team very well,” Mushtaq said at the ICC Cricket Academy in Dubai on Thursday.

The Pakistan squad trained for the second day running in the searing early evening heat at Oval 2, ICC Academy, Dubai.

“The captain and I, as well as the support staff have full confidence in them. These three have done really well. Shaheen, obviously is the leader of the attack but unfortunately, he isn’t there. But these three are such that, in any given situation on the day, they can change the game,” he added.

Pakistan have added Umer Rashid as assistant coach to their support staff to help fast bowling coach Shaun Tait. Rashid, who is a one of the coaches at Pakistan’s National High Performance Centre (NHPC), had worked on Hasnain's bowling action and helped the 22-year-old return to competitive cricket.

“When we were at the NHPC, we had decided that it would be a ‘working together’ philosophy,” Mushtaq said.

Pakistan come into the Asia Cup on the back of a 3-0 ODI clean sweep against the Netherlands and while the weather conditions of both the countries are poles apart, with the tournament set to played in the sweltering Middle Eastern summer, Mushtaq said the conditions won’t deter them one bit.

“As a professional cricketer, these things keep happening and it is a part and parcel of the game. Sometimes you are playing during the day, sometimes in the night, sometimes it is the white ball, sometimes the red ball, sometimes the shorter version, sometimes the longer version, playing in different countries, venues, different oppositions. So, this is a requirement in professional sport and you don’t have to think about it and you adapt to the plans, get adjusted, cope with it and execute it,” explained Mushtaq.


More news from Cricket