Monday, May 21, 2012

Misbah sees fielding improvement

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq is backing his side to defy the latest odds, after claiming that he has seen drastic improvements in his team’s fielding and fitness ahead of June’s tour of Sri Lanka.

Pakistan are in buoyant mood after whitewashing the best Test side in the world earlier in the year. England struggled to cope with Pakistan’s spin attack and fell to an embarrassing 3-0 defeat in the United Arab Emirates.

While Pakistan have a bowling attack to match the best sides in the world, they continue to struggle in the fielding department and their standards are well below the likes of England and Australia.

Misbah insisted fielding has always been a priority and mistakes in the field are not down to a lack of effort in training.

Former Surrey fielding coach Julian Fountain joined Pakistan’s coaching staff in March and Misbah believes the team is making strides.

"Whether it was under Waqar Younis (former coach) and Ijaz Ahmed (fielding coach) everyone did a good job and now Julian is doing a great job and I think we have shown good improvement in fielding and fitness," said Misbah.

Misbah’s men have recent history on their side going into the one-day and Test series in Sri Lanka. Pakistan beat Sri Lanka 1-0 in the three-match Test series and won the one-day series 4-1 in the UAE late last year. However, their last trip to Sri Lanka in 2009 ended in defeat in both forms of the game.

Misbah expects a fierce challenge and wants Pakistan to rise to the occasion and prove a point to cricket’s betting community.

"We have to be at our best in all departments because Sri Lanka is a tough opponent no matter where you play them and in their own country they are even tougher," he added.

Pakistan will play two Twenty20s, five one-day internationals and three Tests on the tour, which starts on June 1.

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