Saturday September 18, 2021

Time to test bench strength in Windies series: Babar

ISLAMABAD: As Pakistan go into the four-match T20 series against West Indies with the opening match today (Wednesday) at Bridgetown, captain Babar Azam termed it a perfect time to test the bench strength ahead of the T20 World Cup.

Talking to the media during a virtual session Tuesday, Babar said that the series would be taken as an experiment.

“Like England did in the series against Pakistan where they even rested their captain for a match, we also have a plan to go into the series against West Indies using different combinations. We would try to test the bench strength in the series which we feel is important ahead of the T20 World Cup. We did not get this opportunity in England but feel now is the time. You would see different combinations in the series.”

Babar was confident about the ability of bench strength. “All those players accompanying the team are good enough. We would back and support them in attaining the best form for the big event. When it comes to middle-order we have very little options available. So, we are planning to go ahead with the available players. They will be given opportunities to show the talent they have got. After all these players performed in the PSL and are the best available.”

Pakistan’s all formats captain said handling big hitting West Indies batsmen would not be a tough issue.

“We have got a good record against the West Indies and hopefully would be carrying that into the series. The hosts may be having big hitters, yet we have the quality bowlers to control them.”

Pakistan captain said what players required was support and backing from the management. “We are ready to back our players as they are the ones who will be there in the coming events.”

On Sharjeel Khan’s chances, he said he would be given an opportunity as an opener. “He is a top-order batsman and as such will be given an opportunity in that place. You would see our shuffling with available sources during the series.”

Babar also backed Haris Rauf saying that he had done enough in the past. “Some time you lose your form. It is there that players require backing from the support staff. We would continue to support Haris Rauf as he is our match winner.”

On pitch conditions available in West Indies, Babar said usually these were slow. “Barbados pitch, however, is a bit lively. We have got Hasan Ali and Shaheen Shah to exploit conditions here. They have the experience of CPL and we hope that would come up good in the series. Usually, the tracks are slow with a penalty to offer to spinners.”