Arthur optimistic of repeat of 2016 heroics against England

Pakistan coach believes team has enough potential to beat Three Lions on their own turf

Arthur optimistic of repeat of 2016 heroics against England

Head coach Mickey Arthur believes Pakistan have enough potential to repeat the heroics of the 2016 series against England.

The Sarfraz Ahmed-led unit will travel to England from Ireland, where they will play two Tests starting from May 24.

The last time Pakistan toured England was under the leadership of Misbahul Haq two years ago as they registered a 2-2 draw in the four-match series to become the number one side in the five-day format.

However, this time around, the team is not the same. Misbah and legendary batsman Younus Khan have both retired from international cricket, while talismanic leg-spinner Yasir Shah is also not with the side because of knee injury.

But Arthur, while addressing media, expressed his views that his team can still reach the same heights as they did on their last visit.

“We are definitely capable of repeating our heroics of 2016,” said Arthur. “We have the likes of Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali, who scored centuries during that tour at The Oval and Edgbaston. Haris Sohail and Babar Azam are also extremely talented and very capable of scoring big. The experience of Mohammad Amir in those conditions will also help as well as played an important part in the previous series as well as in the Champions Trophy triumph.”

Arthur also believes England are going through a transitional phase themselves.

“England themselves are going through a transitional phase,” he said. “Only Joe Root and Alastair Cook are established. Even though they have good players, but even then there is uncertainty about who will play. We know their weakness and will try to exploit it.”

Ready to bat at number four: Shafiq

Pakistan middle-order batsman Asad Shafiq has expressed his desire to bat at number four in the longest format of the game.

Shafiq, who scored a well-crafted half-century for Pakistan in an historic Test against Ireland, expressed those desires while talking to the media in Dublin.

“I always wanted to play in the top-order for the team,” said Shafiq. “After the retirement of Younus and Misbah, someone had to fill the void in the top-order. Coach Mickey Arthur and captain Sarfraz Ahmed gave me this responsibility and I am excited to accept the challenge. Before, I had to play with the tail-enders as I used to come at six, which was an added pressure. Now I believe I have more of a chance to play big innings for the team.”

Talking about his experience in Dublin, Shafiq said: “The conditions weren’t easy. The surface had a lot of moisture and therefore, it was not at all easy to bat and score runs in those conditions. I am pleased with the half-century but I shouldn’t have thrown my wicket away playing a rash shot at that situation.”

Talking about the upcoming two-Test series against England, Shafiq said that he is ready to bear the burden of the team’s batting with Azhar Ali and captain Sarfraz.

“I am ready to bear the burden of the team in the batting department alongside Azhar and Sarfraz,” he said. “I also want to motivate youngsters for the tour as well.”