The intense Multan heat has been a major talking point ahead of the Pakistan vs West Indies ODI series. The games are set to start at 4pm local time to counter the weather conditions, but with West Indies desperate to win more World Cup Super League games, Nicholas Pooran doesn't want to focus on uncontrollables, like the weather, at all.
But, keeping in mind the heat, the in-form Keemo Paul has been flown in to bolster the squad. While lead selector Desmond Haynes said in a CWI press statement that the injury-prone Paul had earned his spot after his successful run in the regional four-day championships for Guyana, where he displayed high fitness levels while taking 20 wickets in five games, Pooran indicated that the heat meant an extra squad member would be useful.
"Coming from Netherlands, from the cold to heat [is not ideal]," Pooran told the media on Tuesday. "Today we had our first training session and it went really good. We trained at 4pm, and it was windy. For now, it's okay. Hopefully it doesn't affect us. Coming from the Caribbean, it is quite similar, so I think we'll be alright.
"The guys are coping well, the medical team is doing everything to keep us protected. You can't see the future, but I don't think the heat will be too much of a problem after what I saw this afternoon."
Pooran wasn't too concerned about his own form coming into the series. He had a high score of 10 in three innings in the Netherlands, even though there were four centuries and four fifties from his team-mates. He was out all three times to offspinner Aryan Dutt in that series, but despite that, Pooran felt batting against spin remained one of his strongest suits.
"No, I'm fine, this is not the first time I haven't scored runs," he said. "Have to check my stats, but I am always scoring runs. Obviously, I'm disappointed by my personal performance in the Netherlands. Some people may say that I should've scored runs in the Netherlands. But I believe I am a good player of spin and don't think I have to overthink it too much.
"It's just a matter of time, I need to get a start and then capitalise on it."
Pooran acknowledged that for West Indies, beating Pakistan in Pakistan was a challenge from the outset, but wanted his team to accept it instead of fearing it. As for tangible goals for the Pakistan series, Pooran revealed two such plans: hold on to catches and bat long as a team, consistently.
"Some world-class bowlers and batsmen here [for Pakistan], but I want the players to embrace the challenge," he said. "If we can take our catches, get some runs, you never know what can happen, the game can turn in a couple of balls. We want to use our momentum [from the Netherlands] and continue to be consistent as a team.
"Cricket is played on its day. We had three guys getting centuries [in Netherlands]. We saw Brandon King being consistent with the bat. This is obviously really good for us. As a batting group, we want to bat 50 overs. In the Ireland series, in the India series, we haven't batted all 50 overs.
"Yes we are coming to Pakistan, yes they have good bowlers as well, but I believe we have the ability and confidence to bat the 50 overs. We appreciate the small goals and as a team we want to achieve it. One step at a time, and we'll take it from there."