DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, CMC — Pakistan are not assuming the absence of batting superstar Chris Gayle to mean West Indies will be a weakened unit for their three-match Twenty20 International series starting here Saturday.
“I don’t think that there is much of an advantage when it comes to T20 cricket when players have changed,” captain Sarfraz Ahmed said.
“True, they don’t have Chris Gayle but they do have some other good players. Our focus is to do well on the field. We finished on a good note in Manchester (against England earlier this month) and I hope we start on a good note here.”
Gayle, one of the most destructive batsmen in the game’s shortest formats, was not available for selection after also missing the two-match series against India in Fort Lauderdale, United States last month.
He was joined by Lendl Simmons who was also unavailable because of medical reason while dynamic all-rounder Andre Russell pulled out of the squad last week for “personal reasons.”
However, Sarfraz pointed out that regardless of the line-up, the key to winning T20s was execution.
“In T20, you cannot win by names alone. You need to go out there and play well,” he contended.
“If you see, England are a good team and we have quite a few young and exciting players who have performed well. And I’m sure they will do well here too.”
West Indies have been installed as heavy favourites, especially after lifting an unprecedented second T20 World Cup title in India last April. They are currently ranked number three with Pakistan four places lower in seventh.
Despite the absence of Gayle, Simmons and Russell, West Indies boast the likes of all-rounders Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo, along with leg-spinner Samuel Badree and off-spinner Sunil Narine.
But Sarfraz said while there was no doubt about the quality of the Caribbean side, Pakistan would not be daunted.
“They are the best T20 team in the world and won the Twenty20 World Cup,” he noted.
“We are also a good team and when we played against England, we didn’t think that we were playing the T20 World Cup finalists and that they are one of the best T20 teams in the world. Our focus was mainly on that we should play well and play good cricket.
“That is the same focus here. Our aim is to play good cricket and play a good brand of cricket and beat them.”