Former Pakistan pacer backs visitors to have bowling advantage over hosts
Former Pakistan fast-bowler Mohammad Zahid has backed left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir and right-arm quickie Mohammad Abbas to shine in the upcoming Test series against England.
The Men in Green, under the leadership Sarfraz Ahmed, will face Joe Root-led side in the two-match series, starting from May 24 at the Lord’s.
Zahid, who represented Pakistan in five Tests and 11 ODIs, wrote for PakPassion, saying he believes current Pakistan side can pull off a surprise result against England courtesy their apt bowling unit.
“Pakistan have a definite advantage over England in the bowling department,” wrote Zahid. “We all know what Amir is capable of, and I believe, amongst other bowlers, Abbas is more likely to trouble batsmen on English pitches.”
He continued by downplaying Hasan Ali’s role, but backed Rahat Ali to perform well. “I feel Ali’s impact will be limited as he is a bowler who is good on drier pitches, but Rahat could also be handful. I also have high hopes from the bowling of Faheem Ashraf who could play well in the side as an all-rounder. Yasir Shah will also be missed but I feel that this is a great opportunity for Shadab Khan to prove his importance in the longer format of the game.”
Talking about the conditions in England, Zahid expressed his fear regarding Pakistan’s inexperienced batting lineup.
“Conditions in England are still very damp, and as such the pitches will be moist, offering little in terms of pace but a lot more in sideways movement,” he explained. “This will be a huge test for Pakistan’s inexperienced batting line-up. Apart from Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq and Sarfraz Ahmed, the rest of the batters are still new to Test cricket. Babar Azam has to do the same in Tests as he did in ODIs and T20Is. But I have high hopes of Fakhar Zaman who has shown a lot of promise, but whether he can replicate his form from the shorter formats of the game in Tests is yet to be seen.”
‘Anderson to haunt Pakistan’
Zahid believes veteran England pacer James Anderson can prove to be the real difference between both sides.
“James Anderson may not bowl at express pace these days, but make no mistake that in English conditions, he will make life miserable for all the visiting batsmen,” wrote Zahid. “Anderson is a master of his craft and an expert in using home conditions which his statistics clearly indicate. Pakistan’s batting order may have some talent in it, but they are likely to struggle against him as well as Stuart Broad.”
‘Not expecting Ireland to trouble Pakistan’
Sarfraz and co, before playing England, will take on Ireland in a lone Test and the 41-year-old believes Pakistan will not face a stern challenge in the match scheduled to be played on May 11 in Dublin.
“To be honest, I do not expect much of a challenge for Sarfaraz Ahmed and co in the match against Ireland,” wrote Zahid. “In limited-overs formats, Ireland could have posed a threat for Pakistan, but I don’t see any concern in Tests. Of course, the pressure will always be on Pakistan when they play an inexperienced opponent like Ireland as the home side will have nothing to lose and all to gain from any positives in this match.”