Karachi : Pakistan left-handed batsman Haris Sohail, who has been recalled in the ODI squad after a gap of almost two years, has insisted that his side’s preparation for their Champions Trophy clash against arch-rivals India have been excellent, before adding that they are in England to win the title and not to make the numbers up.
Fans from both nations have marked their calendars for June 4, when the two arch-rivals will begin their campaign in the eight-team marquee event at Edgbaston in Birmingham.
Admitting that a lot of hype is being created around the India-Pakistan clash, Sohail said that these kinds of matches are unique and that he considers himself lucky to be a part of such game.
“There is nothing quite like an India versus Pakistan clash and the atmosphere is bound to be brilliant. These are unique matches and to be a part of these matches is what cricket is all about. I hope that I am picked, but that is up to the team management so let’s see how this goes,” PakPassion.net quoted Sohail as saying.
Sohail, who made his last appearance for Pakistan in historic home-series against Zimbabwe in 2015, admitted that although the Virat Kohli-led side are quite a strong team, his side are focused on playing good cricket and not just on admiring their oppositions.
“Our preparations for the India clash have been excellent and whist the Indian team is a strong one we are here to play cricket also and not just admire the opposition team and players. We will plan for Virat Kohli just the same as we will for the other Indian players. We are here to win the tournament and are not here to make the numbers up,” he added.
Regarded as one of Pakistan’s brightest talents, Sohail made his debut for Pakistan in July 2013 during his side’s tour of the West Indies.
However, Sohail’s march towards cementing his place in Pakistan’s frail middle-order was interrupted by a career-threatening knee injury until recently when he was given a chance to represent Pakistan in the Champions Trophy in England.
Earlier this month, Sohail was roped in the 15-member Pakistan squad as a replacement for middle-order batsman Umar Akmal, who was recalled from England and was removed from the Champions Trophy after he failed to clear two fitness tests during the tournament’s preparation camp in Birmingham.
Jubilant to be back in the international fold, Sohail revealed that it had been a quite tough two years for him.
“I’m delighted to be back in the international fold once again. It’s been a tough two years and it’s been a long and at times difficult road back to fitness. I worked at the National Cricket Academy, went to UAE for treatment, came to England and eventually I have made my way back to full fitness,” Sohail said.
“There are no issues with my fitness now at all. I passed the fitness test in Lahore at the National Cricket Academy and then when I came to England I had a further fitness test which I also passed. So, there are no concerns or issues about my fitness at all which is a massive boost for me,” he added.
In the 22 ODIs he has played for Pakistan, Haris has scored 774 runs at an average of 43 with a strike rate of 82.86. In the same number of ODIs, he has bagged four wickets with his left-arm spin.
After taking on India, Pakistan will play South Africa (in Birmingham on June 7) and Sri Lanka (in Cardiff on June 12). (ANI)