Lahore: Pakistan coach Dav Whatmore on Wednesday warned his players that they faced a battle on next month's tour of Sri Lanka, saying the hosts were tough opponents in home conditions. The Australian backed the six uncapped players picked across Pakistan's Test, one-day and Twenty20 squads to make an impact on the tour, which starts with a Twenty20 international in Hambantota on June 1.
Pakistan began a short training camp in Lahore on Wednesday ahead of the tour, where they play two Twenty20, five one-days and three Tests. "We are lucky we are doing a bit of work in the heat," Whatmore told reporters.
"I think we are doing enough to prepare ourselves properly for pretty strong opposition in their home country." Pakistan, whose Test side is ranked fifth in the world against Sri Lanka's sixth, broke with tradition by selecting separate squads for the three different formats, new to their system but backed by Whatmore.
"I am very agreeable to see that players are beginning to be selected in formats that are suitable to them," Whatmore said, who offered no comment on Mohammad Hafeez replacing Misbah-ul Haq as Twenty20 captain. Whatmore guided Sri Lanka to World Cup triumph in 1996 and took over as Pakistan coach in March, leading his charges to victory in the Asia Cup in Bangladesh.
"There are a few new players in the squad and that's a good thing because you know I think keeping exactly the same personnel you are marching on the spot," the former Australian batsman said. Pakistan have picked uncapped Shakil Ansar, Haris Sohail, Raza Hasan, Rahat Ali, Ayub Dogar and Afaq Raheem in their three squads.
"We want to move forward all the time. In that squad selection there's some very good experienced players we believe are good enough to win matches and that's why they're picked." Pakistan had a pre-tour setback when limited-overs specialist opener Nasir Jamshed was ruled out for the tour with a fractured finger.