Shafiq reveals which player will be key for Pakistan in Australia Tests

Men in Green will face Kangaroos in first of two-match series starting from Sunday

Shafiq reveals which player will be key for Pakistan in Australia Tests PHOTO: AFP

Middle-order batsman Asad Shafiq has backed leg-spinner Yasir Shah to produce another impressive performance against Australia in the upcoming two-Test series.

Shafiq, who is now tipped to become the vice-captain of the team, believes Shah, who has 20 wickets to his name in five matches against the Baggy Greens, will be team’s trump card in the series.

“Our main strength is in the spin bowling department,” said Shafiq while talking to PakPassion. “We know we have some excellent spinners such as Yasir Shah in our side who know these conditions really well and will cause difficulties for the opposition.”

Shafiq, who has represented the Green Caps in 61 Tests, where he has scored 3,768 runs at an average of 47.76 with the help of 11 centuries and 20 fifties, also revealed that the team is still in the process of finding stability after the departure legendary batsmen Misbahul Haq and Younis Khan.

“Misbahul Haq and Younis Khan were legendary players and served the nation for many years and of course it is not easy for any other player to match their performance,” he said. “As far as the upcoming Test series is concerned, I don’t think Azhar and I will be under any pressure but we do recognise that we have an added responsibility on our shoulders as we are the senior members in the squad. It will be up to us to put into practice all that we have learnt from the two great players and help Pakistan in this series.”

The Men in Green are coming into this series after a poor outing in the recently concluded Asia Cup, where they failed to qualify for the final, but Shafiq believes the team is now fully focused on the Test series against Australia.

“Victory and defeat are part of any sportsman’s life —sometimes things go in your favour and at other times everything seems to be going against you,” he said. “The disappointment of the Asia Cup is behind us now and the whole attention has now shifted to the Australia Test series. What we know is that we have a very good record against them in the UAE where we have beaten them before and we intend to work on the goal of preserving that record.”

Talking about his own form, the 32-year-old believes he is in decent shape for the series. “I am feeling very confident as I have done well in the current first-class season where I scored a double-hundred against Islamabad,” said Shafiq. “I thing I made good use of the break from cricket after the Ireland and England tour which was forced upon me due to surgery on my hand. Since then, I have played 3 first-class games in Pakistan and now the tour game against Australia has given me another chance to get myself ready for the challenge ahead. My goal now is to get myself back in good form and then perform well to help Pakistan win this series.”