| Latif: 'A strong team in the making'
Sharjah: Pakistan will have history and form firmly on their side in the Sharjah Cup final Thursday, having not lost a one-dayer to Zimbabwe for four-and-a-half years.
Pakistan have won the last 12 decisive encounters and only lost twice in 31 games against the Zimbabweans.
The sides met in the World Cup last month but rain washed out the game, leading to Zimbabwe surprisingly reaching the second round ahead of Pakistan and England.
Both sides have since seen a major change in personnel, with Zimbabwe losing key batsman Andy Flower through retirement.
“The tournament has been a learning process for us,” captain Heath Streak said.
“A victory in the final will certainly boost the morale of players ahead of the tour of England later this month.”
Grant Flower, Andy’s brother and now the team’s leading batsman, crossed the 6,000-run mark in one-dayers during the event.
“We have not been in many finals of late, but I feel we have it in us to win this one,” Flower said.
Sri Lanka and Kenya were knocked out of the Sharjah Cup in the first round.
Pakistan dropped eight senior players, including Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Saeed Anwar, Inzamam-ul Haq and Shoaib Akhtar after the World Cup.
New skipper Rashid Latif said: “Give us another six to eight months, we will build a very strong team.”
Allrounder Abdul Razzaq and Younis, rested against Kenya, are set to return Thursday.
| Streak: 'Meet a learning process'
Pakistan’s new work ethics and disciplinary rules claimed its first casualty when Mohammed Zahid and Naveed Latif were slapped with a one-match ban by the team management for reporting late at the practice session.
They were not considered for Tuesday’s league match against Kenya because they came late for practice.
Pakistan coach Javed Miandad said the action was aimed at instilling a sense of discipline in the side, especially the younger members.
“These players are not entirely new in the side. They have played for Pakistan. Therefore, it is all the more necessary for them not to flout the rules.