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Pakistan looking for a fast start against NZ, Hassan Ali will improve: Azhar Mahmood

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Pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmood said on Tuesday that the green shirts were looking for a fast start against the New Zealand side in their clash on Wednesday.

Speaking at a press conference one day before the two sides clash, Mahmood said that Hassan Ali was going through a difficult time but he would be back in the game.

“You know, whether you’re a batsman or a bowler, there comes a time in your life when you hit a bad form,” he said. “That is happening with Hassan Ali. He’s hit a bit of a rough patch.”

Mahmood said that Hassan was bowling well in the nets and hitting the right lengths. He said that the right-arm pacer would be back in form. All he needed were two to three wickets.

“He’s having self-doubts at the time. He’s a little low on confidence. That happens, as we have seen with Amir. He was not taking wickets after the ICC Champions Trophy but then we saw him return to superb form in this tournament,” he said.

Mahmood said that the Pakistan cricket team played the last match and the hunger and positive body language was visible when they took to the field.

Mahmood said that New Zealand had in the past lost their nerves in important encounters. He said that the Kiwis could lose tomorrow if Pakistan brought its A game to the table.

When a journalist asked Mahmood about coach Mickey Arthur’s ‘suicide’ statement, he urged the media to say positive things.

“Please report something positive. You say these things and then the players and we all feel like having poison and committing suicide,” he said in a lighter tone.

“Yes, many things are similar but they are different too,” he said. “In 1999, Australia were faced with the same circumstances–they had to win all of their four to five matches to qualify for the semi-finals and they ended up taking the cup. So you never know,” he added.

Pakistan take on New Zealand in a must-win encounter tomorrow. The green shirts defeated South Africa by 49 runs in their clash on Sunday, keeping their hopes alive of reaching the semi-finals.

After New Zealand, Pakistan play Afghanistan on June 29 and then Bangladesh on July 5.

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