Pakistan toured England back in 2016 where they ended the series with 2-2 over the hosts and received crictical acclaim from cricket fans across the world. This time though , Pakistan won’t be having veterans like Younis Khan or Misbah Ul Haq to act as their saviour. Pakistan will be relying on an inexperienced side to take on the contest against the hosts.
The 2 match test series would begin from 24th May to 5th June . The first test would be played at the mecca of cricket , Lords , followed by the second test at Headingley , Leeds.
The king of swing James Anderson and his apprentice Stuart Broad would want to rip apart Pakistan’s batting line up with their fierce bowling. With Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler now back in the squad from their stints in the IPL, England , led by Joe Root might give the visitors some nightmares by the end of the series .
let us look at the challenges that can be put up by the hosts for the visiting Pakistan team
Lack of Experienced players in the team
The present Pakistan unit is full of youngsters who aren’t aware about England’s pitch conditions . Back in 2016 , the team had Younis Khan , Yasir Shah and Misbah Ul Haq leading the side. With Younis and Misbah now out of the picture and the leg spinner suffering an injury the pressure would be onto the young guns of the team.
Sarfraz Ahmed ,the Pakistan skipper is the only experienced player on board . Around 8-9 players of the 16 man squad haven’t played more than 5 test matches. Coach Mickey Arthur would have to find a way that might help the boys to deal with the experienced unit of the visitors.
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Lack of involvement in the longer format of the game
Pakistan did manage to play practice tests with Northamptonshire and Kent before playing against Ireland. But , it’s their lack of involvement in the test cricket that can prove a blessing for the England team. Pakistan barely managed to register a victory against the Ireland.
Before the Ireland series, Pakistan had played a test match way back in September 2017. They suffered a 2-0 loss against Srilanka in 2 match test series. From that catastrophic loss , to facing a team like England in their home conditions would be a major challenge for the visiting side. Playing against Ireland might have ensured Pakistan a victory , but it won’t be the same with England.
England play more test matches than any other team and have acquired a prowess in the longer format of the game. Not to forget the experienced players that the hosts will be bringing in for play . Pakistan need to get out of this muddle as quickly as possible.
Mohammad Amir’s injury
Amir has been the one of the key performers for Pakistan since his comeback to the international arena. He could have been miles ahead of his competitors if he hadn’t been banned from cricket. Nevertheless , he has received widespread acclaim from cricket fans across the world for his bowling prowess .
With Amir facing an injury while bowling in the 2nd innings of the Ireland test, the Pakistan team are in hiatus . It would be a major blow for the visitors if Amir doesn’t recover from his injury . His absence from the squad might nullify the chances of a victory on foreign soil. Amir’s accurate line length selections , ability to swing the bowl both ways , could have been a terrorising factor for the hosts.
Over dependence on Asad – Ali
Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq have now been a part of the team for quite some time. The duo been termed as the replacement for the Misbah-Younis , but will they be able to play cricket the way the legends did is still a question. Azhar and Asad might be sound batsmen but now they will have to raise their bar to whole new level if they want to gave back the hosts a run for their money.
If the duo fail to build the necessary rock solid partnerships, then Ahmed and others would be in deep trouble. They will have to take on the fight with the opposition bowlers from the beginning.