Rohail Nazir Focussed on All-important Quarter-final Clash Against Afghanistan
Pakistan U19 captain Rohail Nazir is aiming to give a match winning performance and lead his side to a victory against Afghanistan when the two sides clash in the fourth quarter-final of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup Super League at the Willowmoore Park, Benoni on Friday.
Pakistan, the two-time champion dominated Group C but had to finish on the second spot due to a rained-off game against Bangladesh despite having reduced the eventual table-toppers to 106 for nine in 25 overs, last Friday at the JB Marks, Oval, Potchefstroom.
Pakistan team rested for two days following the match against Bangladesh before embarking on a gruelling four-day training and practice workout ahead of the quarter-final clash against their western neighbours.
They had an injury concern on Monday when opener Abdul Wahid Bangalzai who featured in the game against Bangladesh, twisted his ankle in the training session. He rested for the last two days before taking part in the training session on Thursday; a decision on his inclusion will be made on the morning of the match.
Rohail meanwhile is aiming to make-up for his failure in the game against Zimbabwe and lead the team from the front after having spent an extended time in nets this week.
Rohail Nazir said: “We have worked very hard in the last three days, the head coach has spoken to us and we have worked out a strategy to counter Afghanistan, who are a good team. I am confident that the team will deliver in the all-important match which is a do-or-die game for us.
“Unfortunately, I got out for a duck against Zimbabwe but I know it is high time for me to deliver for the team along with Haider Ali. I have worked hard on my game, during the three-day break and I feel I am prepared to deliver the goods for the team since these games are the ones that matter most.
“I am mentally prepared to lead the team to victory. Our lower middle-order has played very well so far, the way the batsmen applied themselves in the game against Zimbabwe gives me a lot of satisfaction. Now it is the time for Haider and me to excel and provide support which will surely improve the team performance further. The way we fought against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, gives me the confidence that we will do well against Afghanistan.
“I am very pleased with our bowlers; we have a very good left-armer (Tahir Hussain) while Amir Khan also did well after coming into the team. Abbas Afridi provides great back-up in the middle overs while we have a specialist spinner Aamir Ali, who also has done very well so far. I have full confidence in the abilities of my bowling attack.”
The winners of the fourth quarter-final take on defending champions India in the semi-final at the JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom on Tuesday 4 February.
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).