Despite having a dismal record against India in ICC events, current PCB chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq is optimistic about his side’s chances against their arch-rivals in the upcoming Champions Trophy in England and Wales. The subcontinent giants meet in a highly-anticipated encounter on June 4.
“We don’t have a great record against India in major events but every day is a new day and I am sure the players will perform well in the first match," Inzamam told Express Tribune newspaper. "The June 4 game is very important for us, not only because it is against India, but also because it will go a long way in helping us qualify for the semi-finals. Our team is quite balanced and has a nice blend of youthful exuberance and experience,” he added.
Eight of Pakistan’s 15-member squad for the tournament are currently in the West Indies playing a Test series and will fly to Birmingham directly on May 14 for a 10-day camp ahead of the competition.
The other seven players - Mohammed Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Imad Waseem, Junaid Khan, Fakhar Zaman and Fahim Ashraf – have been asked to report to the PCB National Cricket Academy for a camp after which they will fly to Birmingham.
Inzamam hopes that the training camp coupled with the two warm-up games ahead of the competition will help the players get acclimated to the conditions.
“The 10-day camp in Birmingham will be an opportunity for the team to regroup after a break. The boys will get the opportunity to adjust to the weather as well. Playing in English conditions has always proven tough for us, but I am optimistic that we will be able to do well there. I am planning to visit the side during the camp as well since I would be unable to go for the event due to Ramazan,” Inzamam said.
The Champions Trophy is crucial for Pakistan, given that their hopes of a direct qualification for the 2019 World Cup also hinges on the same. Pakistan are currently eighth and cannot afford to go down at the time the cut-off date in September.