Whatmore promises Pakistan will fight harder
Pakistan coach Dav Whatmore has said that his side will show more fight when they tour West Indies for the five ODIs and two Twenty20s later this month. Speaking to the media on sidelines of a practice session in Lahore, Whatmore also outlined Umar Akmal's role in the squad.
"We have to do better," Whatmore said, on the sidelines of an extensive practice session with the batsmen in Lahore. "The result in England was very painful for everyone and we all understand that we didn't do our best, now we really want to turn things around. We are focused and looking forward to what we have next and want to do much better. I can't guarantee a win but what I can guarantee is that we will fight very hard to win."
Pakistan dropped their full-time wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal, replacing him with his brother Umar and naming Mohammad Rizwan as a backup wicketkeeper. Umar has kept wicket in seven ODIs and the selectors have hinted at his dual role as a wicketkeeper-batsman.
"Everybody had an opinion that to pick a side that can explore opportunities, we would need a wicketkeeper who is also a full-time batsman," Whatmore said. "We will be working with Umar to ensure he gets as much practice as he can to become a player who can fulfill both roles. We have seen this with South Africa, this is also what Rahul Dravid did for India years ago. So we need to understand what we are trying to achieve with this and we have to be patient after giving him a chance."
The last time Pakistan toured West Indies in 2011, they were up against a depleted side without Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard. Pakistan managed to draw the two-Test series 1-1, won the five-match ODI series 3-2 and lost the only T20 by seven runs. Things are different this time round. The hosts are a much stronger side, while Pakistan are seeking form after their Champions Trophy debacle. Whatmore acknowledged that West Indies were a much stronger side since the last tour, but also pointed out their tendency to lose quick wickets.
"They have steadily improved since 2011 and they have a good set of one-day players," Whatmore said. "We are aware about our limitations and theirs as well, and we have to really fight this out. Despite being a good side, we have seen evidence of their team losing a lot of wickets. We need to put pressure on them with our bowling."
The Pakistan side has four fast bowlers with two full-time spinners. While Whatmore said that the bowling was strong enough to overcome the deficiencies of the batting order, the batsmen still needed to score runs for Pakistan to be able to beat the hosts.
"To win a 50-over game, obviously you need both departments clicking. You might not need to take all 10 wickets to win a match but the more wickets you take, the better your chance of restricting the run rate. Obviously, we need to make more runs against them and batting, along with good fielding, is very important to make a difference."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here