KARACHI: Knowing well that his side Multan Sultans face an uphill task to qualify for the playoffs, head coach Andy Flower on Wednesday said that their charges would put in their best and they had nothing to be afraid of.
“It’s a tough ask for us to qualify from here. There is no doubt about that, it’s a reality,” Andy told a virtual news conference while answering a question from this correspondent.
“So I think we all understand that but this is nothing to be afraid of. I expect our guys to go out there and give everything,” Andy said. “We obviously are very competitive animals. The PSL is a high quality competition. I am very proud to lead the group along with Rizwan and players are proud about their personal performances,” Andy added.
Multan Sultans, who won just one game from five outings, face the table-toppers Karachi Kings in their Abu Dhabi-leg of the HBL PSL-6 first game at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Thursday (today) at 6pm.
“Obviously we would like to be further up the halfway mark but that is not the case and that’s the reality of the situation. I thought that first leg in Karachi was tough for all defending teams and I think the only game lost by the chasing side was the last game of the first leg. Most of the time the results went to the toss and I think we won only one toss,” Andy recalled.
“We find ourselves fresh in the league at the moment. We actually have been given the chance to start afresh and that’s the way we look at it. We are a slightly different side as most of the sides had to make enforced changes but I think we have got some exciting and talented boys in our squad, new talent as well and we certainly are looking forward to this leg in Abu Dhabi,” Andy added.
“I remember in the first leg saying to our team we should not be too worried about it which is too dominated by the toss. And actually my challenge to the team was to break that rhythm. Unfortunately we broke in the wrong way but you cannot be distracted by the fact that the results went with the toss which often did happen,” said Andy, a former Zimbabwe skipper.
He said he believed the matches could be won while batting first. “And it also can go that way here in dew situations. I think ultimately if you are playing outstanding cricket you can win with the bat first and that’s our responsibility,” Andy said.
Recalling Karachi leg, he said they were lacking in some areas. “In the first half in Karachi we actually batted really well. Rizwan led that charge definitely and it’s wonderful to see his skills and understanding of the game and brave, courageous and aggressive batting. I think the areas we lacked in were wicket-taking upfront and also at the back-in. Our death bowling was not skilfull as you need to defend on flat pitches, fast outfield and with a little bit of dew around which is quite difficult for the bowlers but we were not good enough in that area. So we want a comeback and we have to improve in those areas and keep that high standards with the bat with key players like Rizwan making good performances again,” Andy said.
He said Shahid Afridi would have been his choice but his absence due to injury would provide opportunities to others to step up and show their talent. “Shahid Afridi is obviously an inspirational man and player with thunder of charisma. I would have preferred to have him in the squad. Nothing stays permanent and when a great player finishes and in this case when a great player is injured and cannot take part it’s a great opportunity for other people to step up and begin and this is something I am looking for in our team,” he said.
Andy said ageing cricketers in the side would need to make up for their agility and stamina with experience and cricketing intelligence and the fast-witted youth have to provide energy and speed.
He said the change of captaincy affected them somehow. “It affected us in a way actually. Shan really is and was a very respected captain. He did a very good job I agree and did a good job with the bat as well but we decided to make the change,” Andy said. “It did upset the equilibrium of the group a little. This is an honest answer. I would also say that Rizwan also did a good job as captain.”