Pakistan v Sri Lanka 2011-12 November 10, 2011

We are ready for Malinga - Misbah

ESPNcricinfo staff

Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, has admitted that Lasith Malinga's arrival will add incisiveness to Sri Lanka's attack, but believes his side is ready for the challenge. Speaking ahead of the limited-overs leg of the UAE series, Misbah stressed on Pakistan's strong track record against Sri Lanka's unconventional yorker specialist.

"It creates a difference when Lasith Malinga's there because everybody knows he's a very good bowler, but we're ready for that," Misbah said. "We've played a lot of games against him and I think our guys have played him very well.

Malinga comes off a stunning run in Mumbai Indians' victorious Champions League T20 campaign, where he picked up ten wickets - all bowled and lbw - in addition to scoring crucial runs down the order. He is just one wicket away from 150 ODI wickets, and is poised to become the fastest Sri Lanka bowler to reach that landmark. Pakistan, however, have had a measure of success against him, losing only 10 wickets in nine prior outings, at an average of 47.66 each. Five of those wickets, though, came in a match-winning spell in the last outing between the two sides.

"It's an edge for them to have Lasith Malinga in the side, but if we look at our side we have Shahid Afridi and some other very good cricketers too," Misbah said. "Of course, it's a different ball game [after the Tests] but the guys who are coming back have played a lot of one-day cricket and they know what to do, so we're ready. Sri Lanka is a very good team but our team is ready to do well and we're just focusing on the one-day series now."

Afridi's return to the Pakistan side, after calling off his 'conditional' retirement under the Ijaz Butt regime, is the other subplot that has generated interest in the lead-up to the series. Afridi has said he wants to put his controversial exit behind him, and focus on contributing to the side. Abdul Razzaq also makes a comeback, adding firepower and bowling variety to the side.

Misbah also believes the conditions at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium - venue of the first three ODIs - will favour his side.

"The atmosphere, the stadium - it's really good to play here," he said. "Normally you feel the heat playing in the UAE but in this stadium in particular, the way it's built, it's really good for the players and you don't feel that heat. The atmosphere's really good with the way the stands are built, everybody loves to play here and it's a real plus point for our team."

Though Pakistan have the momentum following the Test series win, Sri Lanka coach Geoff Marsh believes his side are the favourites for the ODIs. World Cup finalists Sri Lanka are rated second on the ODI table, while Pakistan are sixth.

"We like to think we've got the edge but we've got to go out and prove that," Marsh said. "We believe we're a very good one-day side but once the game begins, then we've got to go out and play good one-day cricket. We know we've got to play really well to beat them."

Sri Lanka's preparation for the series has been marred by chairman of selectors Duleep Mendis' recent criticism of the players and support staff, but Marsh played down the issue.

"Of what he wrote on Cricinfo? I only read the first couple of lines, I didn't read the rest," Marsh said. "It's something that got written but I don't know about it.

"I'm really enjoying my job. The Sri Lanka players are a great bunch of lads and they all work really hard. They've set long and short-term goals and we are working towards reaching them."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Manesh on November 12, 2011, 3:54 GMT

    @BravoBravo your hyped team bite the dust!

  • G on November 11, 2011, 14:11 GMT

    With all due respect, Malinga started with 2 wides, and bowled 2 no-bowls in the first over. That means even he knows he is not that good against Pakistan and that his confidence is shaken. If it will be Pakistan losing wickets, it would be to another bowler. Enough said.

  • Hamid on November 11, 2011, 10:22 GMT

    The match in which malinga took 5 wickets against pakistan that match was luckyly won by Sri lanka in that match afridi played innings of his life with composed century sri lanka was lucky that time that afridi got cramps and still afridi score wonderful century than he got out of a very good ball and an exceptional catch from afridi.If Afridi played according to his potential then it will be very diffuclt for sri lanka to won.Best of LUCK to PAKISTAN and AFRIDI IN SHA ALLAH you won

  • Dummy4 on November 11, 2011, 8:30 GMT

    i m goin to stadium for todays match...yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee......hope to see som gud fight between both pak and sri..

  • Poorwaka on November 11, 2011, 7:35 GMT

    We are ready for Malinga means they are afraid of him.. :D

  • Satish on November 11, 2011, 6:30 GMT

    Interesting.. Pakistan have a history on both sides.. they can decode any bowler as they did against Mendis.. They can struggle against any team.. Thats the simple reason why many ppl still follow Pakistan cricket inspite of all the mayhem on and off the field.. They are too good team but never short of distractions.. It was only during the Imran captaincy, he kept everything away from the players.. They were champions during that period!!

  • Dummy4 on November 11, 2011, 6:00 GMT

    Pakistan is the strangest team I have ever seen.They have the BEST talent in the World and they have nothing to show except 20/20 title. I wonder why.

  • Dummy4 on November 11, 2011, 4:16 GMT

    If Pakistan plays with their strengths then they can beat any team..

  • Dummy4 on November 11, 2011, 3:38 GMT

    asad shafiq should open. Farhat, no way!

  • Johnathon on November 11, 2011, 3:36 GMT

    Rankings don't mean anything, but also the stats for Pak playing Malinga well doesn't mean anything. Last couple of times Malinga played against Pak, he was not a good player and was just beginning. Malinga's test record says he averages 32-33 runs per wicket, but I feel that if he continued to play tests starting from early last year and continued until he retires (4-5 years), I feel that average would be around 25-26, given his new form and lethality. Pakistan better not take Malinga lightly. He is not the same bowler he was before and is one of the most lethal bowlers in the world today

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