Enough quality to stretch winning streak - Hafeez
Mohammad Hafeez has said the new members in Pakistan's limited-overs squad for the tour of Bangladesh are capable enough to dominate the home side.
Responding to Shakib Al Hasan's statement that the series was Bangladesh's best chance to beat Pakistan, Hafeez expressed confidence in the team and said they were looking to extend the 16-year winning streak over Bangladesh.
"(What Shakib said) is confidence and it's a good thing if they have a believe in them," Hafeez said. "I have heard Mashrafe is not playing the first match and Shakib will lead the side. But if you recall the recent past, Pakistan have dominated Bangladesh lately and apart from the one game in 1999 we never lost to them.
"The talent of Pakistan team can't be under rated," he said. "These players have proved themselves in domestic cricket and then selectors have picked them. It indeed is a new era as we are definitely going with lots of new players. But as a unit we will give good results and they (new boys) are ready for the series."
Since 1988, Bangladesh have played Pakistan 47 times across formats, but their only win came during the 199 World Cup in England. The Multan Test in 2003 was the only instance since that Bangladesh within a touching distance of a second win but an Inzamam-ul-Haq masterclass saved Pakistan the blushes. But Hafeez said that Pakistan was in no way under-estimating the home side, especially after Bangladesh's performance in the World Cup.
"I think its more than winning and losing in the World Cup, the good thing is how you showcase your cricket and Bangladesh won lots of heart through their performance," Hafeez said. "Their qualification in quarter-final was never in doubt because they played good cricket. We are not under-estimating them as a team, as they are very good in their own conditions.
"It might look easy to beat them but they never been as easy. For the last 2-3 years they have developed into a good team."
Hafeez, who has opened with 26 different batsmen since his debut in 2003, is set to open with a new partner again: the 19-year-old Sami Aslam, a left-hander. When asked, if instability in the opening slot causes any disturbance to him he said, "It's difficult to get adjusted but whatever role I will be given I will play to my best ability. Pakistan team's problem is not numbers, Pakistan's main problem is ICC ranking and how to improve it. We are strong cricketing nation and should bring us within top 3 in the ranking. That should be our aim."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson