LAHORE: Former Pakistan captain, coach and manager Intikhab Alam has suggested the national team management to bring consistency in the performance of batting department and to play with one spinner while bringing in either one pacer or batsman in the playing eleven in order to stage a comeback in the three-match series.

Pakistan is currently 0-1 down in the series, having lost the the first Test in a dramatic fashion by three wickets despite having control of the match for almost all of the first three days.

“Without the batsmen’s consistent performance you can’t build any big total against the opponents. A big score on the board it also helps your bowlers to go with all blazing guns,” Intikhab told Dawn.

“If you want to win any Test you have to score 350-plus in the first innings at least and for that your batting has to show consistency in performance in both the innings,” said Intikhab under whose managership and coaching Pakistan won its both world titles including the 1992 World Cup-1992 and the T20 World Cup 2009.

“I was surprised to see that after having a good first innings lead of 107, how our batsmen batted recklessly. It was very easy for Pakistan to set a 350-plus score for England which would have been a very stiff target for the hosts.”

“Despite having a substantial lead, our batsmen were so shaky and were playing without any plan of setting a winning target against England. And when Pakistan resumed on the fourth day at 137-8, the tail-enders started hitting instead of being defensive to steal maximum runs with singles and twos,” said Intikhab had put on a world record 190-run stand with Asif Iqbal for the ninth wicket at the Oval in 1967 against England.

“I also noted that the pitch had become friendlier for batting on the fourth day as Yasir’s ball could not spin a lot like he did in the first innings,” Intikhab observed.

He, however, added that there were some positives that Pakistan could take from the first Test and there was a need to strengthen those ones to stage a comeback in the series. “Yes the team has the capability to stage a comeback after losing the first test and for it the batsmen have to give their full for that. Besides, we should go in with one spinner Yasir Shah and bring in a pacer or an added batsman to make more impact at Southampton.”

“It does not make any sense that you play with the same type of two spin bowlers. Yes if you have any good off-spinner or left-arm spinner you can play with two to bring more variety to your spin bowling attack,” he opined.

”Sohail Khan has the talent to swing the ball in English conditions and if you have an effective bowling attack and your batsmen will also be giving their best you have better chances for victory against any opponent, but for that, the team management has to pick the best lot from the available options,” he concluded.

Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2020