APP10-06 RAWALPINDI: February 06 - Players of Pakistan national cricket team in action during practice session at Pindi Cricket Stadium ahead 1st Test match between Pakistan and Bangladesh. APP photo by Abid Zia

RAWALPINDI, Feb 06 (APP):Pakistan captain Azhar Ali said on Thursday that Pakistan would not take Bangladesh lightly and would try their best to defeat them in the first Test of the two-match split series of the ICC Test Championship, commencing on Friday at Pindi Stadium, Rawalpindi.

“We’ll not take them as an easy opposition. Although their senior players are not with them, they still have such players who can exhibit match winning performances,” he told media at a press conference here at Pindi Cricket Stadium.

He said Pakistan would not give Bangladesh a chance which they could take benefit of to cause trouble. “Credit goes to both the cricket boards that this series is taking place. Every match of this split series is very important. We’ll try to focus on tomorrow’s Test and then will look at the next one when it will come,” he added.

He said as a player he was not satisfied with his performance as he had not been able to perform for the last one year or so. “But the good thing is that I scored century in my last test match (against Sri Lanka). That has helped me a lot to regain my confidence.

“I have also scored enough runs in the first class cricket. I’ll try to continue that form. Test matches take place after much time and it is not easy to carry on form,” he said.

He said that Pakistan would try to go in first test with the same combination that won against Sri Lanka in Karachi. “We’ll try to get advantage of conditions at Rawalpindi and play attacking cricket.”

He said that the last match at Rawalpindi ended in draw due inclement weather conditions. “But I think the (playing) conditions here are such that they always can produce a result. And I hope this match will also produce a result,” he added.

Azhar said that it was a very good sign that international teams were visiting Pakistan now and the entire fifth edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL) would also take place in the country. “A very good message is going to the world that it is safe to play in Pakistan.”

He said it was heartening to see Pakistan bowling attack once again in the rhythm. “We’ve very good bowlers now. We are relying on them and will fully back them.”

He said PSL matches would also be played at Rawalpindi Stadium. “This venue always attracts a good crowd. It was jam packed in the Test match (against Sri Lanka) despite the fact that people knew there will be no result.

“I’m sure people will again come in large numbers to witness this match as well as the PSL fixture here.
“We hope the crowd here once again will give a positive message to the world,” he added.

To another question he said that Fawad Alam had returned to Pakistan Test squad on the basis of his performance. Azhar said that he could not reveal which would be Pakistan’s final team to play the Test against Bangladesh adding that any member of the squad could get a chance. “Any player can be part of playing eleven that is why he is part of the squad.”

Meanwhile, Bangladesh captain Mominul Haque said that his team was trying to improve its game. “Each player of a team is important for it. Our focus is on cricket and we’ll try our best to perform,” he said.

He said Bangladesh had taken a close review of the pitch and would only decide to bat or bowl first if they win the toss.
Pakistan squad: Azhar Ali (captain), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Bilal Asif, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Shaan Masood, Yasir Shah.
Head coach. Misbah ul Haq.

Bangladesh squad: Mominul Haque (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudullah, Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mohammad Mithun, Nayeem Hasan, Saif Hassan, Taijul Islam, Abu Jayed, Al-Amin Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Ebadot Hossain, Head coach Russell Domingo.