Karachi: Lahore Lions skipper Mohammad Hafeez has described their tour of India for Champions League twenty20 tournament as a great learning curve for the players and Pakistan cricket.
"We are not in India just to play cricket, we want to go back by impressing the Indian people with our attitude, behaviour and cricket. There is a lot of demand for our players and Pakistan cricket in India and we don't want to spoil that image," Hafeez said on Geo Super channel during a telephonic talk from Hyderabad Deccan.
Lahore Lions are currently competing in the main round of the Champions League and Hafeez said even though his team lacks in many areas his young side will try to produce a lion-hearted performance. "The sort of facilities, support staff and coaching methods available to the other teams is not available to us. But we still aim to leave our footprint in this competition with our never say die approach and raw talent," he said.
Lahore Lions became the first team from Pakistan to qualify for the main rounds after Sialkot Stallions and Faisalabad Wolves had failed to do this in the last two editions of the Champions League. Hafeez said that qualifying for the main rounds was the first task for his side. "But this is T20 cricket anything can happen and I think our team can still cause a lot of surprises."
"Till today I believe Pakistan cricket is on the world map not because of our system but because of our immense talent. But I think looking at the other teams in this competition it is time for Pakistan cricket to also fully embrace modern technology and methods," said the all-rounder.
Hafeez said Pakistan had very good coaches, trainers and analysts but all they needed were proper opportunities. "I don't think we even need to look elsewhere we have talent in every area. But we need to now utilise them properly," he said.
Hafeez said the Lahore Lions team had lot of punch with its mixed talent and said the team management despite its limited resources had done a wonderful job in motivating the players.
"The management has worked brilliantly and even now the message we have given to the players is that we are capable of defeating anyone and we shouldn't have any complexes because we don't have the same facilities and riches available to the other teams."
Hafeez was all praise for the Indian hospitality and hoped as the team kept on playing in the Champions League they would garner more support from the local crowds. "It is understandable we didn't have the same support when we started playing but as we progressed our team started getting support from the crowd and I think at the end of the day the good thing is the Indian people back and support whoever plays good cricket," he said.
Hafeez said that he was not a believer in mixing politics and sports. "When we see the hospitality and respect we have got in India it does make one think why relations between the two countries can't be better. I guess as players we have no control over things not in our sphere. But even as cricketers we can do a lot to earn the love and respect of the Indians," he said.
To a question, Hafeez said as the performances of the Lahore Lions team got better it would no doubt play a role in convincing many in India the talent they were missing in the IPL. "We just have to give our best and hope the true value of our players is appreciated in India putting aside everything else," he said.
The Lahore captain said the players were mentally prepared for the main rounds and the tough opposition they would face.
"We have firepower but we just need to show more consistency. But that is also a problem with our overall."