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Pakistan will look to target England's 'fragile' top-order: Azhar Ali

The 35-year-old believed that England had tried various combinations after the retirement of former opener Alastair Cook

PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan’s Test captain Azhar Ali, while talking to reporters before departing for England, claimed that the Men in Green would look to target England’s fragile top-order in their upcoming three-Test encounter.

The 35-year-old believed that England had tried various combinations after the retirement of former opener Alastair Cook but were low on confidence in that department.

“Looking at their batting, their top-order has been fragile for some time since Alastair Cook retired. They have tried a lot of combinations lately and might be looking a bit more settled, but they haven't been really confident with it. So there is something for us in it to look at,” Azhar said.

“Their bowling attack is brilliant in their own conditions. Other than Jofra Archer we have faced all of them - Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Chris Woakes, Ben Stokes, Mark Wood, but we have still won against them,” he added.

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Pakistan’s Test skipper claimed that his side was happy with the resumption of cricket in these uncertain times.

“Obviously this news about positive [coronavirus tests] gave us a scare. But we are happy now. The wait is over and cricket is resuming. There is a lot of excitement and hunger to play cricket. Now we have a month in England for preparation and hopefully, this is a sufficient time to focus on skills and get back in our groove. The boys are confident and looking forward for the tour which hopefully will go smoothly,” he said.

"Batting in England has always been tough but we did well in our previous outing. At home in our previous Test, our batsmen scored a lot of centuries. Confidence is still there, so we have a lot to take to England. Once we get 300-plus runs on the board, then I am hopeful that we will do well in the Test matches,” he added.

Meanwhile, the 20-player Pakistan squad has arrived in England, through a chartered flight from Lahore, on Sunday despite novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Upon arrival in Manchester, the squad was transported to Worcestershire where the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) completed their testing before the 14-day isolation period, during which they will be allowed to train and practice. The side will move to Derbyshire on July 13.

According to the tentative schedule, the first Test will be played on August 5 in Manchester. Pakistan will play the remaining two games in Southampton, starting on August 13 and 21 respectively.

Pakistan will also play three Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) in Southampton on August 29, 31 and September 2.