Sharjah hosts historic ODI

Nawroz Mangal and Misbah-ul-HaqIt will be a historic day for Afghanistan when they will take on Pakistan in their first ever one-day international against neighbours at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Friday.

Sharjah has made entry into Guinness Book of World Records for hosting most number of ODIs. The match between Afghanistan and Pakistan will be 202nd on this ground and organisers expect full house.Afghanistan have reached this level despite all the hardships the country is facing for last three decades.While addressing the Press conference at the satdium, Misbah said: “No doubt we have won a Test series against England but we are not taking this lightly.

“They are a very talented side and great fighters. They have got some batsmen and good bowlers and can any team a tough time.”Most of the Afghan players have played in Pakistan and Pakistan Cricket Board allows Afghan team to take part in the domestic cricket which has helped them a lot.“We (Faislababad Wolves) have played against them in Pakistan Twenty20 tournament last year. They are a tough nut to crack and since it is their home ground and know the conditions very well they can give us a very tough time.”It is the best time for Afghanistan to start their journey against top teams in the world. They need these type of matches to develop their game.

“It’s very important for them to play against big teams and that’s how they will improve further. Once you play against a Test team you know what type of improvement is required. It’s very important that such matches are organised so that these teams play against top teams and get improved, they can realise where they stand,” Misbah said.Pakistan have whitewashed England in Test series but they will not sit on that victory.Misbah said: “ I always say that whatever you win it goes in the past, and you should look ahead the matches which you have to play and they are more important.

“It’s true we won the Test series and we are happy, we did celebrate it, people back home are also happy, but for us tomorrow’s match is important to bring us back in this format. “It’s a good chance for us to prepare us for the series against England and get ourselves mentally back into this format. For us to perform in the one-dayers is very very important.”Pakistan announced the ODI team on Wednesday and Shoaib Malik was not in the squad. He was included later at the request of Misbah. It was a strange decision because Malik failed against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

“I think there was some misunderstanding but I am thankful to the selection committee and the cricket board who have accepted my request. His performance against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh was in my mind, may be he didn’t bat well, but his bowling played a vital role in Sharjah.“Keeping in mind the conditions here I discussed it with the coach and we requested to the cricket board because ultimately the powers are with selection committee and the cricket board to include Shoaib Malik.”

While answering a question how difficult it will be for the players to mould themselves into ODI mode after a gruelling Test series, Misbah said: “Cricket has been going on regularly for sometimes like it and players have adopted themselves well, mentally players know it is a different ball game and players do know the demands of this game.“It’s been part of every series and you have to switch yourself from Test to ODIs or from ODIs to Test matches. As a professional I don’t think there should be a problem in adapting to the formats of the game.”

Pakistani spinners have been the thorn in the flesh of English batsmen as Saeed Ajmal and Abdul Rehman shared 43 wickets between themselves during the Test series. But Misbah did not buy this argument and said: “Its not right to give spinners all the credit, fast bowlers also bowled. “Quickies will play a major role in the series especially keeping in mind that two new balls will be used.