The Telegraph
Monday , December 24 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hafeez: We will miss Sachin

Bangalore: Pakistan captain Mohammed Hafeez is not wary of his experienced counterpart Mahendra Singh Dhoni and said as a skipper his main aim would be to motivate his team and not to buckle under pressure in the limited-overs series against the India which starts here Tuesday.

The much-anticipated bilateral series starts with the first of the two Twenty20 Internationals at the Chinnaswamy here.

“Dhoni is far more experienced captain than me and Misbah-ul Haq. But having said that every captain has to face challenges. My aim will be to see that my side plays without any pressure,” he told reporters after a long practice session Sunday.

Apart from two Twenty20 Internationals, India and Pakistan will also play three ODIs in the bilateral series.

Hafeez said the Pakistan players felt sad that Sachin Tendulkar would not be seen on field in ODIs.

“To be honest we (Pakistanis) will miss him and feel really sad that he will not play ODIs for India. I admire the man for his sheer domineering character. He rattled all kinds of bowlers around the world,” Hafeez said. “Sachin is a great entertainer of cricket and wish him good luck for the future,” he added.

Hafeez said Pakistan is here to play good cricket and winning and losing doesn’t make any difference to his side. Hafeez also rued the fact that the cricket playing nations’ refusal to tour Pakistan due to security concerns has deprived Pakistan from hosting any international matches for the last three years.

He, however, hoped that cricket would return to Pakistan soon and said he was proud of his team’s sterling performances outside the country. “We wish cricket returns to Pakistan soon and some of our youngsters get a chance to play in front of home crowd,” he said.

Hafeez also said that the relation between the BCCI and the PCB was fast improving and felt that both the nations should play more for the betterment of the game.

Asked about the kind of craze back home for the upcoming series against the arch-rivals, Hafeez said the expectations were very high, especially when both the countries hate to lose against each other.