Yousuf upbeat ahead of one-day series

BRISBANE: Mohammad Yousuf, the Pakistan captain, is still upbeat about his team’s chances in the one-day series against Australia starting from Friday in spite of a 0-3 drubbing in the Test series that concluded in Hobart on Monday.

Pakistan were crushed by the Aussies in the first and third Tests in Melbourne and Hobart while in Sydney the tourists threw away the second match from a winnable position to suffer yet another whitewash against the Aussies.

Following their below-par showing in the Tests, most critics are not giving much chance of winning the five-match ODI series but Yousuf is confident that his team will bounce back with a vengeance.

“We are looking forward to the one-day series,” said Yousuf. “Pakistan have some very good one-day players and I’m confident that we are going to do well in the series.”

Yousuf’s optimism springs from the fact that he will have the services of experienced performers like all-rounder Shahid Afridi, senior batsman Younis Khan and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, who did not feature in the Test series.

“Shahid Afridi will be joining us here soon. He is a very exciting player in one-day cricket. He has done very well during the last couple of years. His bowling, especially has really improved over the years.

“I’m really happy that Younis Khan is also coming back. He is an experienced player and will add stability to our batting for the one-day series.”

Yousuf and his boys have been travelling away from home for the last three months, having hosted New Zealand in a limited-overs series in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in October and later playing a Test series against the Kiwis in New Zealand. From there, Pakistan came to Australia last month and after finishing the three-match Test series, will be playing five One-day Internationals and a Twenty20 game in Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne before concluding the tour on February 5.

Yousuf admitted that the long tour is taking its toll on his boys, but was quick to add that they will not allow it to affect their performance in the one-day series.

“Obviously it is hard to be away from home for three months. It is difficult, but we are professionals and we have to play and give our best each time we take the field.”

The Pakistanis arrived in Brisbane from Hobart on Tuesday and will have a couple of training sessions here at the Gabba on Wednesday (today) and on Thursday ahead of Friday’s day-night international.

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