Pak bowlers can challenge English batsmen: Muhammad Yousuf

Pak bowlers can challenge English batsmen: Muhammad Yousuf

ISLAMABAD-Former Skipper Muhammad Yousuf believes Pakistani bowlers can challenge the English batsmen, saying this was a good opportunity for players to make a name for themselves.

“Pakistan’s bowling attack is very good. Mohammad Abbas has done well in the past, even on dead pitches in UAE. Shaheen Afridi is consistently improving, while Naseem Shah, despite being young, has started his career on a high,” quoted him as saying.

Pakistan was scheduled to take on England in three Tests and as many Twenty20s, which would be played from August 5 to September 1.

Old Trafford, Manchester, would host the first Test of the series starting from August 5. The final two Tests would be played at the Rose Bowl, Southampton, from August 13 and August 21.

The three T20s would take place at Old Trafford on August 28, August 30 and the final match of the tour on September 1.

He said Shaheen and Naseem can both hit the 150 kph mark, which would come in handy. “Abbas is slightly on the slower side but he makes the ball talk through his immaculate line and length. This is a good opportunity for players to make a name for themselves because scoring runs in England is not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination,” he said.

He also considers England’s pace bowling attack as major threat, ahead of the series. “England has a very good bowling attack with the likes of James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes. Anderson will be major threat as he has close to 600 Test wickets and if the conditions favour him, he will be very tough to handle,” he said.

Yousuf pinned high hopes on rookie batsman Haider Ali saying he wants him to perform like limited-overs skipper, Babar Azam across all formats.

“Haider is a young player and everybody is talking about him. I hope he starts performing, in all three formats, like Babar Azam and become one of the top batsmen in the world,” Yousuf said.

Yousuf also spoke about the importance of scoring runs in England, as far as the Men in Green batsmen were concerned.

“Babar has performed really well in the recent past and all eyes will be on him. He has kept himself fit and always seems focused on the field” he said. Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali have also scored runs in England, during previous tours, and hopefully they will do the same this time around,” he said.

Former speedster Shoaib Akhtar believes Pakistan has the ability to surprise England and give them a tough time in the upcoming series.

“This is a very important tour for Pakistan. Pakistan needs to come out with something really good out of this series. I really think that Pakistan can do wonders after the first Test to up to the second Test match. I wish them best of luck,” said Akhtar.

Akhtar added that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) needs to be appreciated for sending a 29-member squad to England as it allowed the players to practice among themselves in the absence of any side matches against English county teams.

An extended squad, including white-ball specialists, was sent to England by the PCB as the players, in accordance with series SOPs in the wake of COVID-19, would remain in England from start to finish.