ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Pakistan’s interim coach Mohsin Khan said Sunday his team could replace England at the top of the test rankings.
Pakistan is the No. 5-ranked test team, but two consecutive wins against England to clinch their three-match series have given the coach confidence to predict a bright future.
“This team has the capacity to become world’s best team,” Khan said. “Our target should be to gradually come in the top three in both tests and one-day and then go to world No. 1.”
Khan was the chief selector when he was appointed coach after Waqar Younis stepped down due to personal reasons in October.
The Pakistan Cricket Board has been looking for a full-time head coach since and Khan has applied.
However, Australian Dav Whatmore is being tipped to replace Khan after the series against England ends in late February. Whatmore also visited Pakistan earlier this month and held talks with PCB officials in Lahore.
But Khan has made a strong case to challenge Whatmore for the post as Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and England in the past four months.
“What Mohsin Khan is today is because of Pakistan and Pakistan cricket,” he said. “My services are always there for my country but I don’t want anybody to take me for granted.
“When we won against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka people said they were weaker teams, now we have won against the best.
“The kind of firepower they exuded is unseen in the (Pakistan) team in the past and we won a lost match on Saturday.”
The coach also said that Pakistan has to play well when it competes against other top-ranked sides like Australia, South Africa and archrival India in their own backyards.
“We have to perform when we play in other parts of the world so that means we have to prove a lot,” he said.
Khan faced a lot of criticism back home when he was the chief selector and brought in young batsmen Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali into the senior team.
The two youngsters did not disappoint in the second test against England when they combined in a match-winning 88-run stand on Saturday that earned Pakistan a lead of 144 runs before the team’s spinners bundled England out for 72 — its lowest ever total against Pakistan.
“We thought these boys have talent and I never got worried,” Khan said.
“I believe that the boy who comes on merit should play (because) now we want to have a back-up of players for the future.”
Khan also gave credit to captain Misbah-ul-Haq, who has not lost a series since being appointed as captain after the infamous spot-fixing scandal of 2010.
“He is a very good captain and I have a wonderful rapport with him,” Khan said. “We make gameplan and take inputs from seniors and juniors.
“Maybe a junior player has something good and wise to tell us. He respects my experience and as coach it is my duty to support him as he is to make the team fight.”
The last test begins in Dubai on Feb. 3 before both teams embark on a four ODI series and three Twenty20 games.