Former all-rounder buoyed by team's performance in practice matches
Former Pakistan all-rounder Abdul Razzaq is optimistic about Pakistan’s chances against Ireland in the hosts’ first-ever Test match in Dublin and believes the performance put in by the team against Kent and Northamptonshire in the build-up to the game will give the Men in Green confidence against the Irish.
Sarfraz Ahmed’s men defeated Northamptonshire by nine wickets following brilliant individual displays from Asad Shafiq and Shadab Khan where the former made 186 runs not out and the latter claimed ten wickets in the match.
And Razzaq believes this win will give the visitors a lot of confidence going into the historic match.
“The batting line-up was perfect in the last [practice] match and after watching the performance of the top-order batsman, I am really confident the team will perform well,” Razzaq told The Express Tribune.
Razzaq praised youngster Imamul Haq and was all too impressed by Shafiq’s performance.
“Azhar Ali, the most experienced one in the team, will certainly be opening but for the other end we have Imam, who has proved himself in the practice matches; and then there is experienced Shafiq while Babar Azam can also open. So the opening looks sorted out,” he said.
He added that it will be difficult to select who to send for the opening but it is good that they have got the options. “Opening has always been a specialist job, but the recent performance has opened up options. Still the best possible openers are Azhar and Asad,” he said.
Talking about the bowling he said that Shadab will be affective in the match against Ireland.
“It will be first Test for the Irish players while it will only be the second Test for Shadab. Both don’t have much experience and the door will be open for Shadab to do what he does best,” he said. “It is good that Shadab went as England players are used to Yasir Shah’s bowling and the way Shadab has been phenomenal and Pakistan can take advantage of that too.”
He also lauded that efforts of other bowlers like Muhammad Abbas. “The pitch for the match against Ireland is green which is the worst you can have for the batsmen, while the fast bowlers just love to bowl on it,” he said.
He went on to add: “Muhammad Amir, Abbas and Rahat Ali have a good pitch to play on; they can swing the ball and trouble the batsmen. It will be a low scoring match so the Pakistani batsmen also have to be ready for it as Ireland have good bowlers too.”
He also added that the management should give the players confidence by letting them play in all matches. “The same team should be given chance to play in the match against Ireland and also in the two matches against England. This will help the player be comfortable and eventually put in a better performance,” he said.