KARACHI: Pakistan’s former Test fast bowler and head coach of PSL franchise Lahore Qalandars Aaqib Javed on Tuesday said that West Indies and Pakistan Test series against England are very crucial for the revival of international cricket and the contests will encourage more cricket boards to organise bilateral series soon.
“It is so unfortunate that we didn’t see any cricket in last three months because of Covid-19 but its a great development that West Indies and Pakistan teams have reached England and we are all set to witness Test cricket in England along with T20 matches,” he said.
Aaqib said despite the selection of 29 players for the England tour, Pakistan’s Test squad looks inexperienced and unsettled and England may win the series 3-0.
“Pakistan did well in the last two Test series [in England] and we were able to draw the Test series, but during the last one or two years England have really raised their game and the way they are playing cricket in lall three formats is just remarkable,” he observed.
“Pakistan will struggle in the Test series as they have quality line-up, They have world class fast bowlers in shape of James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer as well as a match-winning all-rounder like Ben Stokes and also they have a fine Test batting line up.
“Their batsmen not only score big but also at a rapid pace and that is where Pakistan will lack as we are still playing the game in an old fashioned way,” said Aaqib.
“If Pakistan manage to play 125 overs we still may not score enough runs as compared to England who can smash a huge score in as many overs and can out play the opposition after that.”
Aaqib echoed the views of former captain Ramiz Raja and expressed doubts about Mohammad Abbas’ utility and said he has lost considerable pace and may not be effective as he was last year.
“If we look at the Pakistan pace attack, it lacks experience and a bit of quality,” noted Aaqib. “Abbas is a experienced bowler but he has lost pace and it will affect his performance.
“Also, after ban of saliva, most of Pakistan fast bowlers will struggle as they mostly rely on reverse swing and take wickets with the old ball.
“Shaheen Shah Afridi is a rising fast bowlers and he can do well but the highly rated Naseem Shah lacks experience and this series will be a big test for the young pacer, said Aaqib.
“As for Yasir Shah, he performed all over the world before but during the last two years or so, his form has been on the decline. But i still feel that his performance will be the key in Test series,” added Aaqib.
Speaking about talented young pacer Haris Rauf, Aaqib said: “He can do well in Tests if given a chance as he has pace which is required to topple batting line ups in a time of saliva ban and also he has aggression to surprise England team.
“Haris did well in Australia in Grade Cricket and later played first class matches too. So he has the credentials to do well in Tests and is also a very commited bowler who always wants to do well.”
But when reminded that Haris failed to excel in PSL 5 games, Aaqib said: “He played in PSL despite injury because he wanted the Qalandars to do well for Qalandars. But he was not fit and was not able to perform well.”
Aaqib further said that Pakistan Cricket Board must try and stage remaining matches of PSL 5 and the winner should be decide through competition.
“PSL 5 should be completed. PCB must try and host remaining matches whether in Pakistan or in the UAE but the winner should be decided through competition on ground. I hope PCB will be able to find a small window this year around November to complete PSL 5,” Aaqib said.
Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2020