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February 1, 2012
Pakistan's interim coach, Mohsin Khan, has said that his side is "desperate" to build on their unassailable series lead against England, and whitewash the world's No. 1 Test side.
"I do not need to look at the rankings table to tell me that England is a very professional team, a very balanced team with no weaknesses at all in any facet of their cricket," Mohsin told PakPassion.net. "They will once again be tough opposition for us and we will not be taking the opposition lightly, we will have to work very hard and approach the third Test match just in the same way as we have approached the previous two Test matches.
"We are desperate to see a three-nil margin, but no Test victory comes easy and nobody has a given right to win any Test match. I have a lot of respect for Andy Flower, Andrew Strauss and all of the England players and I am sure England will come back hard at us. I'm sure it will be another tough match with hard cricket played by both sides."
The final Test will be played in Dubai, where Pakistan won the first match comfortably, by 10 wickets. They then produced a dramatic 72-run triumph in Abu Dhabi, where their spinners' tigerish defence of a paltry target of 145 meant England were shot out for 72. Mohsin likened the Abu Dhabi victory to Pakistan's historic triumph in the 1992 World Cup.
"As for gauging what this victory means, well I received an email from a friend of mine in Karachi after the victory which stated that he had been following Pakistan cricket for more than 30 years and the series-clinching victory in Abu Dhabi over England was the second occasion where he had felt so proud to be a Pakistani cricket fan, the first being the 1992 World Cup final victory in Australia, when Imran Khan was captain.
"I took this comment from my friend as a great compliment as no doubt we have achieved a lot in Pakistan cricket over the years, but to come from the low points we reached in 2010 to the performance in Abu Dhabi was just magnificent. The biggest satisfaction and the most pleasing aspect was to see the unity and happiness in this team."
One of the striking features of Pakistan's victory run was the composure they showed while defending a modest total, and Mohsin credited the senior players in the team for maintaining focus. "It was an exciting situation and quite tense also given that we only had 144 runs to play with," Mohsin said. "Yes some of the boys were very excited, but it was crucial for the likes of Misbah-ul-Haq, Saeed Ajmal, Younis Khan and Mohammad Hafeez to keep the rest of the boys focussed and calm. Younis plays such a vital role in the team and really helps the captain on and off the field, his input is always very important and his opinions are always valued by everyone within the squad. Hafeez is another who keeps things in perspective and has a valuable role within the squad.
"It was very important that the more experienced players kept the younger players concentrating on the job at hand and for them to not get too excited. We are blessed that we have a wonderful captain, someone with an ideal personality to lead, yet it is also very important for the generals around him to support him and assist him and that is exactly what occurred in Abu Dhabi. As the opposition wickets fell and the victory seemed a possibility then it was only natural for the excitement amongst my boys to increase and I think they did a good job with their conduct."
Left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman was Pakistan's hero in the second Test, where he emerged from Saeed Ajmal's shadow to produce a decisive spell of 6 for 25 in the second innings. Mohsin said Rehman's success was a vindication of the improvements in Pakistan's cricketing framework.
"There is a lot of healthy competition now in Pakistan cricket for places in the starting XI in every format. Abdur Rehman is a perfect example of this way of thinking, he knows that he has worked extremely hard to get to the level he is at now and that he has no intention of letting his form dip and his fitness levels to drop. He is such a hard-working cricketer, he has a great work ethic and is always ready to do extra training and additional bowling. There are times when he just wants to practise his bowling continually for hours and to work on his fitness.
"Two of the 'elder statesmen' in the squad, Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq, know that age is catching up with them but you simply cannot criticise their levels of fitness, they work so hard in training and they are an asset to the team and shining examples for others to follow."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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