Sri Lanka will face Pakistan in a two-match Test series, starting from December 11 in Rawalpindi
Azhar Ali is excited to lead Pakistan in a Test match for the first time in home when his side locks horns with Sri Lanka in Rawalpindi from Wednesday.
While speaking to the media on the eve of the Test, Azhar was hoping for a return to form with the return of Test cricket to Pakistan.
“I am really happy that Test cricket is back in Pakistan after a gap of 10 years. We couldn’t do well in Australia but we will try to overcome our shortcomings at home,” said Azhar. “I hope to regain my form by scoring big in the upcoming series. If a captain performs and leads from the front, it motivates other players in the team as well.”
The Pakistan skipper also emphasised that beating the Islanders would be not be an easy proposition.
“Sri Lanka is not an easy side to beat. They are very disciplined and we will have to perform to the best of our abilities to outclass them in the ground,” he said. “We will select our playing XI for the Test only after taking the pitch and conditions into account.”
Meanwhile, visiting captain Dimuth Karunaratne was excited to be part of history and is seeking the help of former Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur to challenge the hosts.
“We are very happy and excited to tour Pakistan after 10 years,” said Karunaratne. “Pakistan team is a tough side and we will try our best to give a good performance.”
“We have Mickey Arthur with us, who has coached Pakistan before, so we got to know a lot about the Pakistan team after training with him,” he added.
There is a lot more at stake than World Test Championship points for Pakistan when they host Sri Lanka in a two-match series this month as the country hosts its first Tests on home soil since the 2009 militant attack on Sri Lanka's team bus in Lahore.
That attack left six security personnel and two civilians dead and six players injured, and saw Pakistan spend the next decade in the Test wilderness as teams refused to play there.
Pakistan, who were forced to play their "home" Tests at neutral venues, will look to use the series as an opportunity to bounce back after being swept 2-0 in Australia, suffering innings defeats both in Brisbane and Adelaide.