While insisting that it takes time to boost the performance of any team, Pakistan ODI skipper Azhar Ali believes his side are heading in the right direction of rebuilding following their one-day series win against West Indies in the UAE.
Pakistan have taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match ODI series after their thumping 59-run win over the Caribbean side in the second match in Sharjah. The Azhar-led side won the opening match by 111 runs at the same venue. Another victory for Pakistan would see them lift their rankings by one place to eighth spot and their chances for a direct entry in the World Cup 2019. Hosts England along with the seven highest-ranked sides in the ODI rankings on September 30 next year will qualify directly for the pinnacle event.
“It takes time to improve things. You need patience to lift a team. We started the rebuilding process after the World Cup 2015 and it takes one-and-a-half to two years so we are going towards that,” Azhar, who replaced Misbah-ul-Haq after he retired from the format last year, was quoted as saying by the Dawn. Azhar’s job came under scrutiny following the side’s crushing 1-4 defeat at the hands of England. He, however, felt that constant changes in the leadership would halt the team’s progress.
“No matter how many captains you change, if you want to rebuild the team it takes one-and-a-half to two years. Our nation doesn’t have the patience, they want to win instantly. If you don’t win they get frustrated and want change. As a nation we have to take responsibility. It’s easy to look at things in hindsight and call for changes, “the 31-year-old insisted. Applauding his side’s progress in the one-day format, Azhar said Pakistan are now getting the right combination and executing their plans well.
“We are getting all-rounders who have brought depth in batting and we are scoring 300 plus. We are executing plans in bowling which is good, energy levels are high and with wins you lift your confidence. We have played well in the last five to seven matches,” he said. Pakistan will now play their third inconsequential ODI against the Jason Holder-led side in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.