Pakistan batsman Mohammad Hafeez feels England is Pakistan team’s ‘home away from home’. England is the place where they won the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy and 2009 ICC T20 World Cup.
While their preparation for this year’s World Cup has not been ideal, with a 4-0 loss for Sarfaraz Ahmed’s side to England earlier this month, Hafeez feels the support of Pakistani community in UK will lift their morale.
“Every time we come here, the first thing we get is the massive support. We always feel when coming here like we’re playing at home,” Hafeez said on Monday.
“The fans are very fanatic and they want us to get success. That’s what we’re here for. It’s a boost, to be honest. The atmosphere is always electric. As a cricketer, you always want to do well and get lots of respect.”
Pakistan can take some solace from the superb form of the elegant Babar Azam, who scored a century and 80 against England before another century against Afghanistan in the warm-up match.
With totals of 300 and above expected to be commonplace over the course of the tournament, Hafeez stressed the importance of having an X-factor in the bowling ranks.
“The series we played here last time before the World Cup, I’ve never seen the pitches like that before. There’s something to adjust, and I think everyone is ready for that,” the 38-year-old experienced Pakistan batsman said.
“The pitches are immaculate now but let’s see how it goes as the tournament progresses. At the moment, it’s really suitable for the batsmen and we’ll see some big scores from all the teams,” Hafeez, who has turned out in 210 ODI for Pakistan till date, said.
“I believe that cricket has evolved massively, but at the same time you still need that wicket-taking ability in your bowling. If you don’t have that, you can’t stop any team. Your spinners will play a major role and at the same time you must have some mystery in you that can cause confusion in the other team.”