ISLAMABAD: Former Test opener Shoaib Mohammad says the return of Test matches in the country next month would mark a new era for Pakistan cricket.
“It will be great to see Sri Lanka playing two Tests in Pakistan. The series will prove very beneficial for Pakistan and the cricket-hungry fans who are dying to witness top-level games at home,” Shoaib told APP on Monday.
Sri Lanka are scheduled to play two Test matches in Pakistan from Dec 11-15 and Dec 19-23 in Rawalpindi and Karachi, respectively.
The Pindi Cricket Stadium will host a Test match after a gap of 15 years. The last Test at the venue was played between Pakistan and India in April 2004. Test cricket would return to Karachi’s National Stadium after a gap of more than 10 years as the venue last hosted Pakistan and Sri Lanka Test in February 2009.
Shoaib, who played 45 Tests and 63 ODIs from 1983 to 1995, said Pakistan’s upcoming Tests against Australia would help the players in the forthcoming home Tests against Sri Lanka.
“Playing two Tests on Australian pitches will boost the players’ morale and confidence which would result in better outcome against the Sri Lankan team,” the 58-year-old Shoaib underlined.
Sri Lanka toured Pakistan for a limited-overs series comprising three ODIs and as many Twenty20s in September-October this year.
Meanwhile, Shoaib expressed his dissatisfaction with the way the game’s affairs were being handled in Pakistan.
“We need to work on school and college cricket in order to improve our game and bring up budding players,” he insisted. “We need to identify the gray areas and remove the weaknesses of our players.
“To prepare the players in all three departments, we need to establish a variety of pitches which should provide equal opportunities to batsman and bowlers; and should allow all disciplines in the game to flourish,” the former opener emphasised.
“We also need to improve the umpiring standard in our domestic circuit. Moreover, we must also improve the quality of cricket balls in the domestic game.”
Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2019