The Telegraph
Sunday , August 3 , 2014
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Misbah plan for Mahela

Karachi: Pakistan will do whatever it takes to win the two-Test series in Sri Lanka even if it means spoiling Mahela Jayawardene’s farewell party, captain Misbah-ul Haq said on Saturday.

Former Sri Lanka captain Jayawardene, who has scored 11,671 runs in 147 Tests averaging over 50, announced last month that he would retire from Test cricket after the home series against Pakistan, starting at Galle, on Wednesday.

“If we are to win the series in Sri Lanka, we have to ensure that their top batsmen, particularly Jayawardene, is not allowed to get many runs,” Misbah told a news conference on the eve of the team’s departure for Sri Lanka.

“I have a lot of respect for what Mahela has achieved but we are going to Sri Lanka to win the two-Test series and we know how important it is for us to not allow their senior players to score. We have done our homework and we will not let Mahela score big.”

Misbah predicted a tough series against the Sri Lankans who have a strong home record.

“It is going to be a tough series because Sri Lanka have been playing lot of Test and other cricket. But we have prepared hard and I have confidence in our bowlers,” said Misbah.

“Our spinners have traditionally done well in Sri Lanka but we are banking on our pace bowlers as well.”

Misbah, who turned 40 in May and has a modest strike rate in one-dayers, was coy about his chances of leading Pakistan in 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

“I just focus on the match at the moment because that is important. No one knows what will happen after one day so why think about the World Cup.

Pakistan's head coach Waqar Younis said he was hopeful that by the time the World Cup would begin next year, all the bowlers who are currently having fitness issues, including pacers Umar Gul and Mohammed Irfan, would be available for selection.

“Sri Lanka is never an easy tour and it will be tough for the pace bowlers. But I think I will have a much better idea of where we stand after this series.

“At the end of the day, while the World Cup is very important, it is also important that we do well in the Test series,” he said.