ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan met the country's top cricketers on Wednesday to boost their morale ahead of the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
The meeting was held as the country's efforts to revive international cricket suffered two consecutive setbacks with New Zealand abandoning its Pakistan tour following a security threat last week, and England canceling its next month matches citing the same reason.
As Pakistan could not host major international cricket teams after militants targeted a caravan of Sri Lankan players in the eastern city of Lahore in 2009, the country's squad is now preparing for the T20 World Cup which is scheduled to start in the Gulf countries on October 17.
“You should enter the stadium with self-confidence and with a passion to win,” Khan told the players, as quoted in a statement issued by his office. “The team must strengthen itself psychologically to take pressure and instead of getting worried by tough situations in the game.”
“You should learn to play more aggressively,” he said. “Any team that plays defensively finds it difficult to win.”
The prime minister, who led his own team to win the 1992 ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia, said the whole nation wanted the Pakistan cricket squad to succeed.
“There is no dearth of talent in you,” he told the players. “The whole world recognizes your talent."