Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq feels missing the IPL could be a blessing in disguise for his team’s players as they would enter the upcoming Champions Trophy relatively fresh compared to those who are participating in the T20 league.
“The IPL is a long event and the travelling can be taxing for players. We go to England fresh after a short break. The good thing is that we play one-day matches in Scotland and Ireland before the Champions Trophy and that will allow us to test our young players and settle on combinations,” Misbah said.
Pakistani players have not competed in the IPL after the 2008 terror attack in Mumbai.
Talking about the Champions Trophy, Misbah said if his team can get past India, South Africa and the West Indies to qualify for the semifinals, it has the potential to go all the way to win the title.
“Our group is very tough and all teams in our group are title favourites. Playing against India anywhere is always a high pressure game and in England the atmosphere is similar to what we see in Pakistan and India when we play against each other,” he said as the team prepared to leave for the United Kingdom early this morning. India have a good one-day side and their batting is strong and support for both teams will be high as they are large number of Pakistanis and Indians in England,” he pointed out.
“Besides India the group matches against South Africa and West Indies would not be easy at all,” Misbah added.
The Pakistan captain also maintained that the players were well aware of their responsibilities while playing in England given the fact they were going there for the first time since the 2010 spot-fixing scandal.
“The spot fixing scandal was a bad thing for Pakistan cricket but since than the players have made concerted efforts to play as a unit and try to produce good results. Because we know we can only improve our image abroad by doing well as a team and we have done that to a large extent,” he said.
The scandal during Pakistan’s tour to England in 2010 led to bans on then captain Salman Butt, Muhammad Asif and Muhammad Amir as well as jail terms for the trio and their agent Mazhar Majeed.
Misbah said the players had been briefed extensively on the tour by manager Naved Cheema and PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraf.
“We will try to be the best ambassadors for our country in England,” he said.
“The players have been told it is a sensitive tour and strict discipline is required to ensure there is no repeat of the 2010 controversy,” he added.
An official of the board said that a special vigilance officer will be going with the team along with the security manager to keep a watch on the players.