x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Mohsin Khan: Pakistan can be 'world's best team'

But the Pakistan Cricket coach warns that his side must perform well outside the subcontinent to move to the top of the rankings.

Mohsin Khan, centre, believes his team can become world number one.
Mohsin Khan, centre, believes his team can become world number one.

Mohsin Khan, the Pakistan cricket coach, has expressed confidence his team can become the world's number one ranked team after humbling England in the second Test, in Abu Dhabi, to claim victory in the series.

"I think this team has the capacity to become the world's best team. Our target should be to gradually come in the top three in both Tests and one-day, and then gradually go to world number one," said Khan.

Khan's comments came a day after Pakistan crushed England by 72 runs in the second Test on the back of excellent performances from spinners Abdul Rehman (6-25) and Saeed Ajmal (3-22), restricting the rivals to a low total of 72.

Pakistan now enjoy an unassailable 2-0 lead over England, the current world number one Test team, ahead of the third and final Test in Dubai starting February 3. They won the first Test by 10 wickets, also in Dubai.

Khan, however, warned that Pakistan need to perform well outside the subcontinent to rise from their current place of fifth in the rankings.

"God willing, it can done gradually and hopefully we will touch the top but for that we have to perform well in other parts of the world [England, Australia and South Africa], so that means we have to prove a lot," said 56-year-old Khan, a former opener.

But Khan, appointed as interim coach after Waqar Younis quit the post in September last year, may not be there as coach as he is likely to be replaced by Dav Whatmore, the former Australian batsman, next month.

"What Mohsin Khan is today is because of Pakistan and Pakistan cricket. My services are always there for my country but I don't want anybody to take me for granted," added Khan, refusing to comment on his future.

Khan said he was not surprisd by England's capitulation against spin in both the Tests.

"I think our spinners bowled very well. When we go to England our batsmen struggle against swing and here they struggle against spin, but credit to our spinners as they exploited weaknesses and it needs skill to exploit rivals' weakness," said Khan.

Khan praised also their captain, Misbah-ul Haq.

"Misbah is a very good captain and I have a good rapport with him. He gives me respect as coach and as his senior and I give him respect as captain, so it's a mutual thing.

"We make gameplan and he respects my experience and as coach it is my duty to support him," said Khan of Misbah who took over in October 2010.

Since then Pakistan have won eight times in 14 Tests, losing only once. Pakistan have also won three series in a row under Khan.

Khan believes his current team ooze talent.

"When I came as coach I knew that this team had talent in abundance so my first priority was to make them mentally and physically strong and that was on display when Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq batted and carried us to that target," said Khan.

Ali (68) and Shafiq (43) shared a 88-run stand for the fifth wicket in Pakistan's second knock after they were reeling at 54-4.

"We won a lost match on Saturday, but the kind of belief and self confidence this team has shown is great," said Khan.

"I am proud of my team and the moment when we won and then players lifted me and celebrated the win, that was a joy to behold and any praise is less for that team spirit and the unity in joy.

"That was the biggest gift I can have from my players. Our actions are louder than words and I hope that this good work goes on and on."