LAHORE: Applauding Pakistan’s magnificent victory in the first Test against England at Lord’s, batting great Zaheer Abbas on Monday said the team’s memorable triumph shows they are on the path to establishing themselves as a promising Test side.
“This young Pakistan team have exhibited impressive skills and techniques to record a huge win at the historic venue of Lord’s,” Zaheer said while talking to APP.
“Playing in English conditions is never easy, particularly when a team have been playing their home Test matches in the UAE [since 2010] where the conditions are completely different to what one finds in England,” noted Zaheer, a former president of the International Cricket Council.
He said Pakistan team’s superb performance has boosted the claim that they are now in the process of becoming ‘a winning combination’.
Praising the hard work and commitment of Pakistan’s young pace battery comprising Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Amir and Hasan Ali, Zaheer said they showcased their talent with a great display of quality bowling against the England batsmen.
“This win at Lord’s will be long remembered in cricket history; it has given new identity to this Pakistan team which mainly consists of young cricketers,” underlined the former batting icon.
Zaheer, a 78-Test veteran, said Sarfraz Ahmed and company with their resounding win at Lord’s have proven many experts wrong.
“Pakistan, who have played a significant number of ODIs and T20 Internationals in recent times, proved all pre-match ratings wrong that they are under strength or not capable of beating England,” he said.
“Our fast bowlers bowled with fire and our batsmen played with responsibility which is a good sign.”
However, Zaheer urged the Pakistan team not to become in any way complacent after the nine-wicket victory at Lord’s.
“Beating England [in a Test match] in their own backyard is not easy but the never-say-die spirit and extraordinary performance of our players made it possible at Lord’s,” he asserted.
“[But] now Pakistan need to show consistency in the next Test match to win the series on English soil”.
Zaheer congratulated Sarfraz for keeping the team united and motivated to achieve a difficult task with the help of collective efforts and sheer hard work.
Noting that Pakistan’s batting order now has new faces who will take time to adjust in Test format, Zaheer pointed out that youngsters Faheem Ashraf and Shadab Khan are blending well as all-rounders whose presence will be a big advantage for the team in future.
“In Test cricket relying on a few players is never wise; five-day cricket is always about team effort which demands the best from every member of the playing XI. And all the members of this Pakistan Test team have the same will and commitment,” concluded Zaheer.
Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2018