Fahad Munir speaks about the tournament and his contribution
After outclassing Afghanistan in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup quarter-final on Friday, a confident Pakistan U19 team began their preparations for the semi-final against arch-rivals India with an extended three-hour training and nets session at the NWU Sports Village which includes the JB Marks Oval, the venue of the semi-final clash on Tuesday, 4th February.
On the sidelines of the practice session all-rounder Fahad Munir spoke about his performances in the tournament so far and his expectations from his team and his own form ahead of the big semi-final clash.
The left-handed top-order batsman and leg-spinner is a vital cog in the Rohail Nazir-led team. The Lahore-born has made useful contributions in the event so far, especially in the crucial wins against Zimbabwe and in the Super League quarter-final Afghanistan at the Willowmoore Park, Benoni.
Fahad was not needed with bat or ball in Pakistan’s thumping seven-wicket win against Scotland in their opening match of the tournament, but was right in the thick of action against Zimbabwe.
Against Zimbabwe, he was involved in two crucial partnerships in the Pakistan innings (46 with Mohammad Shehzad for the second-wicket) and (66 with Qasim Akram for the fourth-wicket) as he went onto complete his half-century, scoring 53 off 79 balls, to help Pakistan recover from a dodgy 73 for three to post 294 for nine in their 50 overs.
Against Afghanistan, Fahad made two vital breakthroughs with the ball on his way to figures of two for 29 in seven useful overs.
The talented all-rounder, who idolises West Indian legend Brian Lara, is hoping to make a similar contribution as Pakistan aim to seal a final’s berth by overcoming the defending champions India on Tuesday.
Fahad Munir said: “So far we have had a great tournament. The team has done very well, while I am also happy with my all-round contribution for the team. I enjoy both batting and bowling and strive to give my 100 per cent every match.
“We lost early wickets [against Zimbabwe], I settled down and batted with patience which helped me get a half-century and provided a foundation for a late-order flourish which helped us post a good total.
“While bowling in the quarter-final against Afghanistan, the wicket suited me and I bowled at a good line and length which gave me good results in the match. I aim to maintain that and compel the batsmen to make mistakes; I follow a simple bowling plan.
“I have worked on my leg-spin bowling, during our preparatory camp at the NCA in Lahore. The coaches especially bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed worked hard with me which helped me improve considerably as a bowler.
“Against India, the ambition is to win the match and perform according to the expectations. The support of the fans is very important and I request them to pray for us.
Pakistan ICC U19 Cricket World Cup squad:
Rohail Nazir (captain and wicketkeeper), Abbas Afridi (Peshawar), Abdul Wahid Bangalzai (Quetta), Amir Ali (Larkana), Amir Khan (Peshawar), Arish Ali Khan (Karachi), Fahad Munir (Lahore), Haider Ali (vice-captain), Qasim Akram (Lahore), Mohammad Haris (Peshawar), Mohammad Huraira (Sialkot), Mohammad Irfan Khan (Lahore), Mohammad Shehzad (Multan), Mohammad Wasim Jnr (North Waziristan), Tahir Hussain (Multan)
Team management – Ijaz Ahmed (head coach-cum-manager), Rao Iftikhar Anjum (bowling coach), Abdul Majeed (assistant coach), Saboor Ahmad (trainer), Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rasul (physiotherapist), Usman Hashmi (analyst), Emmad Ahmed Hameed (media manager) and Col (retd) Usman Riffat Anwari (security manager).