Sunday, May 26, 2024

PCB: Hayden talks about his involvement with Pakistan, his side’s preparations and role of power-hitters

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Photo Credit: Pakistan Cricket Board

Pakistan batting consultant Matthew Hayden has said its going to be a dogfight in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 when the Group stage matches commence on 23 October with Pakistan taking on India in Dubai on 24 October in a Group-2 fixture.

“One side is not necessarily going to run away with it (match) here. It’s going to be a real dogfight as the conditions and margins for errors are very little. So, good leadership is going to be key.

“I think Babar (Azam) commands that presence, he commands that role and he needs to fulfill that role,” Hayden told reporters in a virtual session on Thursday afternoon.

“On the batting sense a well, Babar, I think he is the premium player and he will be targeted. As Chris Gayle said ‘put in his pocket’.  Yes, there will be additional pressure on him both as a captain and batsman, but I sense the way he goes about his job, I think he will be spot-on.

“Shaheen bowled the penultimate over against South Africa (on Wednesday) and despite going for two fours, including a streaky one, he bowled a great over. The penultimate over is critical in T20, so that added with his new-ball skills make him a top-performer,” Hayden said.

Hayden was delighted to be in greens and involved with the Pakistan cricket team, when he said: “It is a great honour and a privilege to share my knowledge and the dressing room with Pakistan team.

“I must confess I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be sitting inside the Pakistan dressing room.

“The mood is on a high, the relationships between the players seem strong and the players seem happy and relaxed despite the obvious pressures including that of our first game.”

Mathew Hayden, Pakistan Men's Batting Coach on the eve of Pakistan's ICC T20I World Cup opener against India

Photo Credit: LinkedIn profile photo of Matthew Hayden AM

“This camp has got some wonderful assets that will perform on the day. It is exciting to see how Fakhar Zaman, for instance, has and not to single him out, prepared and performed in the warm-up games. He certainly has the potential to deliver the same in a few days’ time.

“The top-three will be critical in the UAE as we have seen that the teams that dominate the PowerPlay tend to win most games here.

“Total beyond 200 would be highly unlikely in these conditions since the average score is around 170 in Abu Dhabi, 150 in Sharjah and around 170 in Dubai, so that is what we will be aiming for rather than 10 runs per over from the start,” remarked Hayden.

Talking about Pakistan-India rivalry and looking ahead to 24 October match, Hayden said: “For Australia, it is England. That is the old guard as they say, but nothing I think matches the rivalry between India and Pakistan.

“There is obvious pressure, but the pressure is only as much as you allow it to be.

“The preparations have been done, the experience is there and now there is the opportunity which is a history making opportunity. I think our players are pretty calm and looking forward to the game, all that had to be done is done and now it is the opportunity of playing the game.

Commenting on power-hitting and the role of the power-hitters in the UAE, Hayden said: “If you were to take the average strike-rate across the UAE, most sides will be very similar. Most sides start very conservatively with the bat and build through the sixth over, trying not to have three or four wickets down, trying to minimise the damage to the batting assets.

“Power-hitting through is an important element of T20 cricket. If you have a look at Sunil Narine, he can make an impact, the way Hasan Ali can do the same. He strikes the ball differently to people with great power and is has an extremely important role. You need to have those dynamic players who can come between the 15-20 over and do the damage.

“Under-rate is properly a too strong a word, but certainly used with wisdom and combined with the opportunities the game provides, the power-hitting and power-hitters are a key asset to any side and every side has one or two.” 

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