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Perform like Babar Azam: Mohammad Yousaf pins high hopes on Haider Ali

Former Pakistan cricketer wants rookie batsman to become one of the best in the world

PHOTO COURTESY: PCB

Pakistan batting great Mohammad Yousaf has pinned high hopes on rookie batsman Haider Ali, after the latter was inducted in the Pakistan squad which is, currently, touring England. 

While talking to Cricket Pakistan in an exclusive interview, Yousaf said that he wants Haider to perform like, prolific batsman, Babar Azam across all formats.

“He [Haider Ali] 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,” said Yousaf. 

The former Pakistan captain also spoke about the importance of scoring runs in England, as far as the Men in Green batsmen were concerned.

“Babar Azam 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.”

“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 added.

He also considers England’s pace bowling attack as major threat, ahead of the series.

“England have a very good bowling attack with the likes of [James] Anderson, [Stuart] Broad, [Jofra] Archer, Mark [Wood] and [Chris] Woakes,” he said. “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.”

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But he also felt that Pakistan bowlers can challenge the English batsmen.

“Pakistan’s bowling attack is a very good,” he said. “[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.”

“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,” he added.

Pakistan, who arrived into the UK on Sunday, June 28, have started their preparation ahead of a packed schedule, which consists of three Test matches and three T20Is. They are undergoing a 14-day isolation period at Blackfinch New Road, Worcester before transferring to Derbyshire’s The Incora County Ground on Monday July 13 to accelerate their preparation ahead of the first Test, which will include two four-day internal warm-up matches.

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

The three T20Is will take place at Old Trafford on Friday, August 28, Sunday, August 30 and the final match of the tour on Tuesday, September 1.

Watch full interview here: