Pakistan’s focus now on the Tests, says the pacer, with the series being a key one for his side in the new World Test Championship cycle
“We’re not looking forward to the India match right now at all, to be honest with you. That’s still very far away. My focus is just on these two Tests right now”
Hasan Ali on the T20 World Cup game against India
There’s another assignment, though, before the focus shifts completely to the shortest format. A two-match Test series against West Indies starting next week, to kick off the new World Test Championship (WTC) cycle for both sides. Unlike the last cycle, which somewhat passed Pakistan by, the fixtures and scheduling have fallen in a way that represents a real chance for Babar Azam’s side to claim a spot in the final come 2023. The upcoming two-match series presents arguably Pakistan’s most challenging away fixtures in this cycle, with the other away series against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
That, of course, makes performing in this Test series that much more important, and Ali said the series was his side’s primary focus for the moment.
“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.”
Facing up to the usual, mandatory question on Pakistan being drawn in the same group as India in the T20 World Cup group, Ali was clear that it was not something the team was dwelling on. “We’re not looking forward to the India match right now at all, to be honest with you,” he said. “That’s still very far away. My focus is just on these two Tests right now.”
Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000