Hasan Ali is pleased with Pakistan’s 1-0 T20I series win against a power-packed West Indies outfit, despite rain playing spoilsport for a major part. He is now looking forward to their first assignment at the World Test Championship – the two-match Test series – beginning August 12 in Jamaica.
Pakistan would’ve looked at the five-match T20I series (as originally scheduled) against the West Indies as a great preparation opportunity ahead of the T20 World Cup in the UAE. However, the Covid-19 complications in the preceding limited-overs leg featuring Australia and the hosts reduced it to a four-match affair, only for the rain to worsen it even further to result in three unfinished games.
The second T20I eventually turned out to be the decider and Pakistan’s narrow seven-run win against the defending champions offered plenty of positives to look upon. While skipper Babar Azam (51) and Mohammad Rizwan (46) maintained their imperious run with the bat, the experienced Mohammad Hafeez choked the West Indies’ scoring with his accurate off-breaks, returning with a scarcely believable 1/6 off his four overs.
Hasan Ali expressed his disappointment over rain affecting a major part of the series, but regarded the win against a “champion” outfit as a “great” result.
“Winning away to a side with such firepower that they can hurt you anytime is great. A win is a win and we’re very happy with the series victory in the West Indies,” Ali said, reported ESPNCricinfo.
“We’re all disappointed because we wanted to play. Even when it was raining we were all raring to go. But the weather is not in our control. Of course, the disappointment is we couldn’t prepare properly away to a champion side.”
Ali reflected upon the learnings from the 1-2 defeat in the high-scoring T20I series in England last month, further adding that there’s still a lot of scope for improvement ahead of the marquee event in the UAE.
“We had to learn some lessons from the England series, and we’re working on our bowling in the middle and the death. I really like our bowling unit right now, and also my personal form. As a bowling unit, we trust each other and our coaches trust us too. Of course, we have to improve, but we have a month or two to hone our skills ahead of the T20 World Cup.”
Four years ago, Ali had earned his maiden Test cap in the decider of the three-match series at Dominica’s Windsor Park. The speedster had then played a fine supporting hand to Yasir Shah, the leg-spinner, in the fourth innings, returning with 3/33 including the key wickets of Shai Hope and Jason Holder. It was Pakistan’s first ever Test series win in the West Indies after seven failed attempts previously. He is now confident of another good show in the upcoming series, given the quality of a well-rounded bowling outfit.
“We’re looking forward to the Tests; we have a few days to get used to the red ball. I’ll try to capitalise on my form and the rhythm I’ve got going for now,” Ali said. “Our team is very balanced. We have plenty of spinners with Yasir [Shah] coming back, and in dry conditions like these that’s very useful.
“Then we also have [pace options in] Shaheen [Afridi], Naseem [Shah], [Mohammad] Abbas and myself. We’ve won the last two Test series [against West Indies] and we’re looking to continue that and get the WTC off in victorious fashion.”
With India and Pakistan being placed in the same group at the T20 World Cup, there is already a great sense of excitement and a characteristic build-up ahead of their Super-12s clash. As for Ali, the upcoming Test series remains a prime focus for the moment.
“We’re not looking forward to the India match right now at all, to be honest with you,” said the 27-year-old.
“That’s still very far away. My focus is just on these two Tests right now.”