KARACHI: Pakistan coach Waqar Younis Sunday hailed his players’ positive and attacking approach after they comprehensively defeated Sri Lanka in all three formats on the islanders’ home turf.
Pakistan clinched the second Twenty20 against Sri Lanka in a sensational last-over finish by one wicket to take the series 2-0 on Saturday, capping a successful tour where they also won the Test series 2-1 and one-dayers 3-2.
Waqar said the victory had made him proud of his players, and the team was on the up.
“I would not say that we have become world beaters after winning the whole tour but I would say that we are heading in the right direction,” he told AFP via phone from Colombo.
“I think the best thing on this tour was that the mindset of the players has changed towards positive cricket.”
The former fast bowler attributed the team’s recent success in Tests, where they are now ranked third in the world, to finding the right blend of youth and experience.
“I think for the last one year we have been well settled in Tests as seniors support the juniors and everyone knows how to perform their roles,” he said, singling out batsmen Younis Khan and Shan Masood and leg-spinner Yasir Shah for extra praise.
On the one-day series victory, Waqar said the introduction of fresh blood had helped Pakistan improve their fielding and shed the go-slow approach that had hindered them in recent times.
“Azhar Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan and Anwar Ali were outstanding,” he said.
“The change in world cricket was adopted by us, which was to smash the ball if it is there for a hit,” he added, referring to surging run-rates that have become a feature of one-day cricket following the arrival of the Twenty20 format.
Pakistan’s victory in the one-day series moved them from ninth in the rankings to eighth, thereby ensuring their qualification for the 2017 Champions Trophy in England.
Pakistan will next tour Zimbabwe, where they play three Twenty20s and as many one-day internationals from September to October.