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Hafeez dubs Pakistan 'strong contenders' in Champions Trophy

Press Trust of India
May 06, 2013 at 10:01am IST

Karachi: Pakistan's vice-captain Mohammad Hafeez feels the success rate the team enjoyed over the last few years after being forced to play away from home, makes it a strong contender for the forthcoming ICC Champions Trophy in England.

Hafeez told reporters during the national training camp in Abbotabad that despite being forced to play the home matches at neutral venues, Pakistan still had a 60 to 65 percent success rate in the last three years.

"The good thing about our team is that we have been playing in different countries and still producing good results with a success rate of 60-65 per cent," he said.

Hafeez dubs Pakistan 'strong contenders' in Champions Trophy

"The good thing about our team is that we have been playing in different countries and still producing good results with a success rate of 60-65 per cent," the Pakistan vice-captain said.

He pointed out that even in ICC events Pakistan had done well in recent times. "This makes Pakistan a strong contender in the tournament and the good thing is that we have a squad that is a blend of youth and experience. When you have youth in the side they are always eager to perform well and cement their places in the side and that is a big plus point for us," he said.

Hafeez who had a horrible time in the Test series in South Africa this year while opening the innings, said the players had learnt a lot from that tour. "It is time to move on and the good thing is that the board decided to set up camp in Abbotabad. Obviously we can't have exactly the same conditions that we will encounter in England but they are similar.

"The weather is cooler and the pitches have grass and moisture and that is good preparation for the Champions Trophy," he said.

Hafeez, 32, said he was not unduly concerned over his recent batting form. "I have been sticking to my basics and trying to keep my game as uncomplicated as possible. Having greats like Javed Miandad and Wasim Akram has also helped a lot and even a few minutes with them gives you a different insight into the game," he said.

Hafeez who managed just 43 runs in six Test innings and 118 in five One-Day Internationals in South Africa, said there was no need to press the panic button as far as the batting was concerned. He pointed out that overall he was satisfied with his technique and was looking to improve it.

"You have to understand why looking at our batting performances that not getting to play at home for such a long time does have its problems. The younger players are not getting the chance to develop in familiar conditions and we are playing in different conditions all the time."

But he insisted that the disadvantage of not playing at home will not affect the overall performance of the team in the mega event. Hafeez also suggested to the cricket board to give former legends a longer time to work with the team as it would help the players in their overall improvement.

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