Against New Zealand, Inzamam backs ‘Champions Trophy winners’ Pakistan

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Pakistan chief selector Inzamamul Haq believes team has the ability to perform well against New Zealand when Sarfraz Ahmed’s men travel Down Under for a limited-overs series in January.

Pakistan will play five ODIs and three T20Is against New Zealand, and Inzamam is hopeful Sarfraz and co will take inspiration from their Champions Trophy victory, where they delivered a championship-winning performance.

“Pakistan won the Champions Trophy; they’ll be successful against New Zealand too,” Inzamam said while addressing media in Lodhran.

Inzamam said conditions in England were difficult during the Champions Trophy but Pakistan pulled a rabbit out of the hat and walked away with the silverware.

“Conditions in England were not easy during the Champions Trophy but Pakistan put on a brilliant performance to claim the title,” he said. “The players we selected lived up to the expectations and were successful in producing splendid performances.”

Inzamam left Afghanistan head coach job to take up the role of chief selector with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), and he admitted that delivering results in his position is not a piece of cake.

“Selecting teams is not an easy task,” he said. “It is a stressful job, but we try to absorb the pressure and try to make decisions based on merit. All selectors have only one aim: to find a balanced squad.”

The 47-year-old said selecting players on merit always bears fruits. “We selected suitable players for Champions Trophy and they performed even in difficult English conditions. I hope we’ll be able to maintain these standards.”

Former captain continued that conditions in New Zealand would be difficult too, but they’ll do their best to select a squad which can perform well. “I am hopeful that young players will perform to the best of their abilities and bag victory on the New Zealand tour, which will offer trying conditions.”

‘Don’t own a team in T10 Cricket League’

Inzamam made headlines in the past few months for trying to buy a franchise in the upcoming T10 Cricket League set to take place in Dubai from December 14-17.

PCB first disallowed him from taking any part in the league but then allowed him to buy a franchise, if he followed certain conditions.

However, when asked if he owned a team in the league, Inzamam replied in the negative.

“I don’t own any team in the league, but the format is good, and cricket will become much faster because of it,” he replied to the question.

‘Focus set on grassroots cricket’

Pakistan’s domestic cricket structure has always got flak from former cricketers, who believe it should be developed in order to produce better quality of players.

Inzamam clarified PCB’s stance on the matter and said the development of domestic cricket is a work-in-progress.

“PCB is trying its best to promote club cricket,” he said. “If the foundation is strong, players will be able to perform better at the international level. When club cricket in Pakistan was good, the national team mirrored it.”

Inzamam said PCB is also trying to promote five-day cricket at district, division and regional levels.

He also praised the initiative of bringing three Pakistan Super League matches to Pakistan, saying “it is good for cricket in the country”.

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