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World Cup: Pakistan can surprise anybody at any stage, says Misbah

Here's the full transcript of Misbah-Ul-Haq's press conference.

Q. First of all, ODIs over the last year, Pakistan hasn't had a great record over the last 12 months there. What do you put that down to and how hopeful are you of being able to turn it around for the World Cup?

MISBAH‑UL‑HAQ: Yeah, I think, as you said, that we are not having a good time in the ODIs, but we always associate this with Pakistan. This team is capable of just turning around, and I'm pretty much excited about this team. It's a bunch of youngsters and a few seniors, and we could really surprise anybody at any stage. I'll be really looking hopeful that we're going to really improve our performance, and we have yet to play our best cricket.

File picture of Misbah-Ul-Haq. Getty

File picture of Misbah-Ul-Haq. Getty

Q. How big a blow was it to lose Junaid Khan so close to the tournament?

MISBAH‑UL‑HAQ: Obviously he was an experienced bowler and really performed well in the last couple of years, especially in the ODIs, so that's always been difficult to just miss out your main bowler. But still, I think all the other youngsters and all the bowlers have the potential. It's just the case of standing up to the occasion and just perform well.

Q. Pakistan's greatest‑ever World Cup moment came in this country 23 years ago. Have you had much contact with members of that team at all?

MISBAH‑UL‑HAQ: Yeah, of course. A few of them are also with us here, Mushtaq Ahmed, andWaqarYounis was also part of the initial squad and literally just missed the World Cup due to injury. We've spoken most of the times to Imran Khan, also. We know that what happened in that World Cup, and especially we have good memories, hopes of the nation regarding these venues and these countries. So, I mean, everybody is just focused, determined to do well in this country. We know that we have to really put a lot of hard work, but I think the team is ready for that.

Q. With all of Pakistan's form, the injuries, Saeed Ajmal, do you think the expectation on Pakistan in this World Cup is a lot less than in the previous few years?

MISBAH‑UL‑HAQ: You could say it, but a lot of all these odds, I think as a sportsman we really need to be hopeful all the time and just ready to give our 100 percent. You never know, because it's one‑day cricket. Whenever you are really optimistic and you are hopeful, you just try to do well. You never know on a given day if you've got momentum, you play good cricket and have chances against any side. That's, I think, the key for us. We need to put our best efforts there.

Q. And what's the update that Mohammad Hafeez with his bowling? Has he conducted his test, or what's the update?

MISBAH‑UL‑HAQ: He has not conducted his test because of a little bit of injury issue, let's see whenever he just comes through that injury, then we'll just go for the testing.

Q. But there's no testing planned before the Indian match this week?

MISBAH‑UL‑HAQ: At the moment, no.

Q. Misbah, what are your memories of the '92 World Cup? Do you remember where you were?

MISBAH‑UL‑HAQ: Yeah, we've got all good memories. Obviously we had just won the World Cup. We won one World Cup and that happened here in Australia and New Zealand, so everybody is hoping that we can just do well here. Obviously sometimes it just has some psychological effects on the team, on the players, so that's with us. But we know that we just can't think that we just won a World Cup in 1992 in Australia and New Zealand, so that's enough for us. I think that needs a lot of effort. We need to really pull ourselves together. We need big effort from the team after what happened to us, and I think we need to be really ready for that.

Q. Is there a chance we could see Ajmal in the World Cup still, and are you disappointed that he's been cleared so close to the tournament starting?

MISBAH‑UL‑HAQ: Yeah, you never know. A lot of ifs and buts because he hasn't played any cricket yet, so let's see how it goes in the next week, because the team has already announced and everybody is here, so we can't just say anything about that.

Q. I was going to ask about Ajmal, as well. When it became clear that you needed replacement for Junaid, did you think of hanging on for the results of the test so you could maybe bring Saeed Ajmal in instead?

MISBAH‑UL‑HAQ: Yeah, as you mentioned, it's really a tough decision because even on behalf of Saeed Ajmal he's not even sure about that because he hasn't played any sort of cricket yet for the last five, six months. That's a big concern for a cricketer because when you really want to go into competition or into real cricket, you need a little bit of cricket behind you, and that's the major concern for us and also Saeed. Let's see how it goes and how we're really going to progress in this matter.

Q. Can I just ask you about Mohammad Amir, as well? He's obviously been cleared to play again, which must be good news for Pakistan. Do you see him playing for the national team again in the near future?

MISBAH‑UL‑HAQ: Look, I always just answered that it's not about me, it's about the ICC and it's about the Pakistan Cricket Board. They are the ones who are going to decide on that, and we are doing our job here.

Q. It must be good news that he's able to play again.

MISBAH‑UL‑HAQ: Yeah, obviously. I mean, it's good news for him, also for Pakistan, but it's a subject I don't want to touch, and let's see how it goes.

Q. If Mohammad Hafeez is injured, is it possible that that could rule him out of the World Cup?

MISBAH‑UL‑HAQ: I'm not sure about that because that's totally up to the medical panel and the physio what they think, how it goes, and let's see in the next two, three days what are the possibilities.

Q. Is there a timeline on that, though? Does he have to be fit by a certain time?

MISBAH‑UL‑HAQ: Yeah, obviously. Obviously. We want to just play him maybe part of the World Cup, and if the physio suggests it's not possible, then we have to take any step.

Q. And obviously if he were to drop out, then Saeed Ajmal might be available. Have you seen him bowl at all in the nets or anything?

MISBAH‑UL‑HAQ: He's been bowling a lot of deliveries there every day. What is the problem that he's not playing any sort of competitive cricket, that's the major issue for him, also, and for the team management. Let's see, we haven't just sit together because he just cleared yesterday. Let's see what we're just going to do.

Q. It looks like Amir will be available for you guys in September having played a bit of cricket beforehand, so you would think you might well be captaining him in the UAE against England?

MISBAH‑UL‑HAQ: When it will happen we will see, but I don't really want to comment on that.

Q. Do you believe in players or people in general philosophically having a second chance to redeem themselves?

MISBAH‑UL‑HAQ: I think then again, it's the kind of thing I don't want to really talk about.

Q. Against Australia in a test match you scored 156. Can you better that in one‑day international cricket?

MISBAH‑UL‑HAQ: We have to give our best shot, and that's why we are here, obviously. I would like to do it for the team, whenever the team needs it, and I will put my best efforts and just try to do that whenever the team needs that. That's why we are here.

Q. Just a final one on Umar Akmal. Do you expect him to bat higher up in the World Cup this time around, and is he the person that Pakistan is looking forward to producing all the goods for Pakistan at the World Cup?

MISBAH‑UL‑HAQ: Let's see. You don't know how it's going to be in the World Cup. You need a lot of changes and sometimes a lot of adjustments during the tournament, but until now what we believe that he really performed well for Pakistan at No.5 and No.6. He's the best striker, and his average is almost near 40, so that's what we believe, that nowadays, even in the last 10, 15 overs, you need a powerhouse, and he could be a powerhouse, he could be a main member of the powerhouse. Let's see how it will go in the World Cup because you start with different plans, different mindset, and sometimes you have to change that.


Updated Date: Feb 09, 2015 11:46 AM

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