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Pakistan ready take on the best in knockout stage: Misbah-ul-Haq

Karachi: Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq has said his team is mentally ready to take on the top sides in the knockout stage of the cricket World Cup.

"I have told the players once we are through to the quarter finals there is no second chance in the knockout stage and we have to burn our boats and go on the field as there is no second chance," he said on Tuesday in an interview.

Pakistan are due to play Ireland at Adelaide on Sunday to find out whether they qualify for the quarter finals with the Irish and West Indies also in the run although Pakistan hold the advantage having won three straight matches including the last one against title favorites South Africa.

"I told the players we have the ability to beat anyone and our pace attack is doing very well. But first they must remain positive even under pressure and go in with a killer attitude," he said.

"Right now we are focusing on defeating Ireland and getting into the quarter finals with eight points but once we do that it doesn't matter who we face in the last eight stage, be it Australia or New Zealand, I know this team can beat them."

Misbah, who has been Test captain since late 2010 and one-day captain since mid-2011 said the middle order remained the only area of concern for the team management.

?I guess it is time that players like Haris Sohail, Umar Akmal, Sohaib Maqsood all put their hands up and seized this opportunity to make themselves a name in Pakistan cricket history. Because this is the World Cup and it comes once in four years."

Misbah admitted that the long breaks and travelling was a bit hard on the players but noted they were used to the schedule.

He said captaining Pakistan remained a very tough job but also a very rewarding one for him. ?When we do well those moments are to savour but at times when we are not doing well and we are criticised, it gets really tough because we look around for support and we can?t find that.?

Misbah, 40, pointed out that at times the criticism aimed at himself and players and coaches got out of hand.

"The critics and former players who are now experts must realise that if they keep on criticizing and making personnel remarks and jokes about the players, cricket could also suffer. And if cricket also suffers the same fate as hockey has in Pakistan than no one will watch these cricket shows and there will be no ratings for the media and these former players and critics as well."

He noted that some of the former players at times got too personnel and made below the belt remarks which hurt the players and affected their families.

"We all belong to a big cricket family in Pakistan and it is allright to criticiSe us on what we do wrong in matches but to make it personnel criticism is not fair. We need to support each other."

Misbah has announced he will retire from One-day Internationals after the World Cup.

 

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