Team morale high for Asia Cup: Sarfraz Ahmed

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LAHORE: Pakistan cricket team captain Sarfraz Ahmed on Monday said that his team morale was high for the forthcoming Asia Cup, hoping that every player will perform well.
“The team has prepared a lot for the tournament and we will try our best to perform well in all three categories,” Sarfraz said while speaking to media representatives at Lahore’s Qaddafi Stadium.
Stating that the “Asia Cup is a big event in which the top teams are participating”, the national team captain said, “Our match against India is crucial.”
Sarfraz also stressed that spinners will play a key role in the Asia Cup which is taking place in the United Arab Emirates from September 15 to September 28.
“If we bat first then we will aim to make over 300 runs,” he said.
“We are not relying on any one category and are looking to perform well in all three — fielding, batting and bowling,” Sarfraz continued.
Further, the national team captain said, “Pakistan A cricket team will also be in the UAE at the same time and if we need alternate players we can call them.”
The wicketkeeper-batsman also said that foreign coaches are professional.
“Fitness of players has improved and there are many positive developments in the team,” he upheld.
“Our battling line has the ability to set good targets.”
Responding to a question regarding former captain Muhammad Hafeez, Sarfraz said, “The team needs him and we hope he will able to play the World Cup.”
He said, “Mohammad Hafeez is an important player and is in our plans for the World Cup next year,” the skipper said. “We will include him in the team whenever it’s necessary. Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq never said that Hafeez’s career is over.”
DAM FUND DONATION:
When asked about the team’s contribution to the fund set up for the construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam, Sarfraz said, “Rs3.2 million will be given from the team and each player will donate Rs0.2 million.”
TEAM DEPARTS:
The 16-member squad departed for Dubai on Monday to participate in the Asia Cup.
The Pakistan squad under the captaincy of Sarfaraz Ahmed will depart from Lahore’s Allama Iqbal airport tonight.
The tournament will begin on September 15 with the final on September 28.
Pakistan will play a group match against a qualifier on September 16 and against India on September 19.
This year’s Asia Cup will feature India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan while the sixth team will be determined via a playoff that includes UAE, Hong Kong, Nepal, Singapore, Malaysia and Oman.
PAKISTAN’S SQUAD: Sarfraz Ahmed (Captain), Fakhar Zaman, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Amir, Shadab Khan, Imam ul Haq, Shan Masood, Babar Azam, Asif Ali, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Nawaz, Fahim Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Junaid Khan, Usman Shinwari, Shaheen Afridi

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