After defeating Zimbabwe at home, Pakistan face a difficult task as they are scheduled to face Sri Lanka in the island nation for 3 Test matches, 5 ODIs and 2 T20Is starting 17 June. Pakistan coach, Waqar Younis believes his team is much stronger in the longer format of the game if compared with the 50-over format.
It is in the latter format, Pakistan need to stand tall as they might miss out on the 2017 Champions trophy, if they lose to Sri Lanka. The Champions trophy consists of the top 8 sides and Pakistan are currently ranked 9 in the ICC rankings and the cut off date for the tournament, 30 September, is also approaching.
It will be unfortunate if the competition does not involve Pakistan, who are one of the powerhouses in world cricket, but have never even reached the final of the Champions Trophy, which started in 1998.
The upcoming ODI matches between Pakistan and Sri Lanka are hence going to be important ones, as they are required to defeat the home team to give themselves a chance of qualifying for the elite tournament. The ODI series will be played after the Test series.
"I am not saying we have a weak ODI team, but we are not as strong as we are in Tests," ESPN Cricinfo quoted Waqar Younis as saying.
Despite the importance of the ODI series, Pakistan will not shy away from using some new players in the squad. With some key players such as Shahid Afridi and Misbah-ul-Haq retiring from ODIs, they are currently undergoing a transitional phase.
"Our disciplines in Tests are stronger because we have inexperienced players in the one-day format," Waqar added. "Of course when you are trying new players it takes time. This series is very important for us to qualify for the Champions Trophy but we won't hesitate in trying new boys because we have to keep our plan going to develop the team."
While Pakistan are eager to win as many ODI matches as possible, even a close ODI series win -- something like 3-2 -- could possibly be enogh to help them attain the prestigious Champions Trophy spot.
"I am confident that we will qualify for the Champions Trophy. We obviously have to win the series and it's important for us to win at least 3-2, but we will push to win more than three matches," Waqar said.