Pakistan Head Coach Waqar Younis on Friday said that a potentially hostile environment in India should motivate his players to rise to the big occasion as they travel to the home of their arch-rivals to compete in the World T20.
Addressing a press conference in Lahore, Waqar called on his side to step up to the challenge minutes after the Pakistan government gave the Pakistan squad a green signal to travel to India following security assurances from New Delhi.
Pakistan had delayed their departure and kept their participation on hold citing security concerns and threats from Hindu religious extremists.
“It’s good news that we are going,” Waqar told reporters, adding that the entire Pakistan squad was willing to travel to India and participate in the mega event.
The former Pakistan captain said that playing under difficult situations in India is not new to the team, citing Pakistan’s tour of India in 1999 when they won two out of three matches playing amidst threat from extremist groups.
“We have faced such situations before. In fact, the situation was worse than this but we will go with a positive frame of mind,” Waqar added as he called on his side to rise above the threats and the prevailing sensitive situation.
However, Waqar was quick to admit that the team would need to improve on their recent performances if they hope to challenge for the World T20.
“This is true that we have not been playing well for the last few months,” said the Pakistan coach after his team lost to New Zealand in one-day and T20 internationals and failed to qualify for the Asia Cup final in recent times.
“World Twenty20 will be a big challenge as both the groups are tough and we have to play really well,” said Waqar.
Pakistan will stay in Kolkata as they prepare for their first World T20 encounter against Sri Lanka on March 16 before taking on India in a marquee clash three days later.