The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Javed one of the best brains: Latif

Sharjah: Describing coach Javed Miandad as one of the ‘best brains’ in Pakistan cricket new Pakistan captain Rashid Latif said he is relishing the challenge of leading a young and largely inexperienced side at the four-nation Sharjah Cup starting Thursday.

“With Javed Miandad, whom I consider one of the best brains in cricket, at the helm, Pakistan can look forward to regaining lost glory,” he said.

“I feel very confident and, God willing, I will perform this challenging assignment most effectively,” Latif said Tuesday after a practice session under new coach Javed Miandad.

Latif was handed the captaincy after Pakistan’s dismal performance in the 2003 World Cup after which skipper Waqar Younis, and senior players Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar, Saeed Anwar and Inzamam-ul-Haq were dropped.

“Most of the players in the side are young and hence we will try and work on improving the technical aspect of their game,” the 34-year-old said before his team’s opening match against Zimbabwe. The tournament also features Sri Lanka and Kenya.

“The team is young, but we are not very short on experience. Except for two players — Umer Gulf and Mohammad Hafeez — all have played international cricket.

“But one has to be patient. We are not expecting the team to perform miracles. If they win here in Sharjah it will be a bonus. The idea is to build the team for future,” he said.

“If you look at my career, I have been through crisis situations many a times and each time, by the grace of God, have come on top.

This is a challenging job, no doubt, but I am confident of handling it,” said Latif, who was frank enough to admit that he would have retired from cricket if Pakistan had done well in the World Cup.

“I had made up my mind (of quitting), but couldn’t refuse the offer from the Pakistan Cricket Board. In fact, I am grateful to the board for assigning me this significant task, initially for one year,” he said.

“Pakistan cricket is going through a transition period and it will take time to build the team, but the process has begun in the right direction.”

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