The 2021 T20 World Cup is hardly few months away and Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq believes the T20I series against England and West Indies will help them prepare for the showpiece event. The Men in Green are scheduled to play three T20Is against England and then five more against West Indies.
"England is, without doubt, a top team... as is the West Indies. My belief is... I also have the experience that if you play against good teams, your preparation would be better, you can judge yourself correctly as to where you stand. I'm taking it positively and it's a great opportunity as a coach and as a team that our preparation would be very good before the World Cup," said Misbah.
"Even if there are difficulties, we will get to know our real potential ... where do we stand. As far as concerns over forms, those concerns are there but we have time on our hands to work on certain things. Yes, there are middle-order issues and we have to look at it, and we will try to see how we can overcome the problems."
Pakistan, however, have made some improvements in the fielding department. "See, fielding is something where with practice ... the more you focus, the more you practice, it will become better. Overall, if you look at the Pakistan team, whatever series we have played, our fielding is better. There has been a lot of improvement in our fielding since the series in New Zealand. The players are taking good catches, ground fielding too has been good.
"Yes, the domestic tournaments we play, I can see concerns. We have to work on it. Our coaches at the provincial level, at the academy, there the fielding side of things is debated, we are talking about it. Gradually, we will look to improve, but the standards of the Pakistan team have got better. If you see, Babar, Rizwan, Fakhar Zaman, Shaab Khan, Shaheen, who are all very good fielders. So the overall standards of the Pakistan team have got better."
Pakistan have already selected the squads for the tours of England and West Indies, but ideally, Misbah would have preferred players who are doing well in the ongoing PSL. "The way you see, we also see every aspect... in-form batsman, bowlers... they have to be certainly considered. But due to unfortunate circumstances, due to this pandemic, logistics, restrictions, we had to announce the team earlier.
"We didn't want to do (select the side earlier), but we are bound to do that due to certain reasons which are not in our control. And obviously, you can't see future that your best player would be out of form or another player would perform. Ideally, we want in-form players to be considered. Wherever we get a chance, if the team needs it, if logistics and other factors allow us, then we will definitely consider any player to strengthen the side."
Talking about Mohammad Amir, Misbah said: "First of all, when it comes to Mohammad Amir, I have already said he was dropped based on his performance, based on his injuries. Amir then himself announced his retirement. If he takes back his retirement, and if his performance is good, then I have always said that the door is open for every player. The main thing is let Amir perform and if he is available... then what happened in the past, I don't think about it."