KARACHI: Former Pakistan bowler and coach Aqib Javed said on Thursday that the Test series against England starting next week will be quite tough for Pakistan while he also backed seasoned fast bowler Sohail Khan to do well in the series.

Talking in Dawn News in ‘Replay’, Aqib said England’s bowling attack is world class and they have vast experience as compared to Pakistan bowling. “Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson have already taken 1000 plus Test wickets between them and have a genuine fast bowler like Jofra Archer to back them in the series against the visitors.

“England pacers will surely test Pakistan batting,” said Aqib. “England wickets are not very quick but there is more swing there. I feel that our experienced players like Azhar and Babar can do well but the series will still be challenge for our batting.

“This is a good chance for Babar to proved himself again while Azhar also did well in England in the past. These two will be the key and their performance will be crucial for Pakistan chances.”

Talking about seasoned fast bowler Sohail Khan, Aqib said: “Sohail is an experienced and intelligent bowler and he should be picked for the first Test against England ahead of Muhammd Abbas.”

“My first two picks will be Nasim Shah and Shaheen Shah Afridi as they are young and exciting prospects. But dont forget both these bowlers are inexperienced so we need a seasoned fast bowler who can guide them and also provide good support,” observed Aqib. “In this regard Sohail will be a very good option and he has done well in practice matches too by taking five-for twice and has troubled all the top Pakistani batsmen.”

Speaking about leggie Yasir Shah, Aqib said his form will be crucial too as England have a good batting line up and they score heavily with a good strike rate “Only a quality spinner like Yasir, if he is on song, he can check the England batsmen.”

Aqib, however, expressed concern about the ability of Pakistan all rounders available in England with national team. “We sould play an extra batsman instead of half all rounders. A good all rounder should be someone who can play as a genuine batsman in top six and can bowl as one of our main bowlers,” said aqib. “But at the moment, both Fahim Ashraf or Shadab Khan cant fit in that category.

Aqib also fully backed the inclusion of prolific batsman Fawad Alam in Test matches against England. “It is well past high time that we included Fawad in Tests. He should get a chance to play and show his credentials and should bat in top five positions so he gets a good chance to score runs.”

In the end, Aqib added that he will be surprised if Pakistan doesn’t get any reward of touring and helping England Cricket Board in these challenging times of Covid-19 tpandemic.

“I strongly feel that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials should talk to ECB and there should be some announcement and confirmation from ECB about England’s tour to Pakistan in near future since the PCB has really helped out ECB in these tough times.”

Aqib said the PCB should announce the possible dates for remaining Pakistan Super League games, just like like IPL and CPL have done.

Published in Dawn, July 31st, 2020


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