Former Pakistan captain, legendary pacer Wasim Akram has warned the Pakistan players, claiming they shouldn’t take the two warm-up games seriously and get ready for a completely different challenge when they face England in the first Test at Lords starting on Thursday.
“Pakistan would make a big mistake if they take the outcome of the two tour games seriously and treat it as a benchmark for the test series. Touring sides in England are always given soft opposition and pitches in the side matches,” Wasim said.
“The tour games should just be considered as well warm up opportunities but the team management shouldn’t read too much into them,” he further advised.
Wasim, who led Pakistan in England on several occasions during his colourful career including the 1999 World Cup where Pakistan reached the final, believes that England would prepare a more challenging pitch at Lords.
“They will prepare a seaming track and their eleven is going to be a different challenge altogether from the side games,” he said.
However, he is quite satisfied with the performance of the pace bowlers but cautioned they still needed to work a lot harder.
“It is the batting that concerns me because to me Muhammad Hafeez and Misbah-ul-Haq don’t appear to have the correct technique for English pitches. They play half cock a lot and you need to know your off stump in England to succeed,” he said.
Wasim’s new ball partner and Pakistan’s former head coach, Waqar Younis also had expressed concern over Hafeez’s inconsistent form. “Both series are very important for Hafeez’s career… he should know that he is not a youngster anymore and if he doesn’t perform then he won’t get many chances,” said the
former fast-bowler while talking to a private TV channel.
Wasim claimed in England, batsmen have to focus on playing with a straight bat and be patient. “Our batting will be tested and if our batsmen like Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Azhar click then it will be a good series. But to me England start off as favorites,” he added.
The Pace great also said that left-arm quickie, Muhammad Aamir will not find it easy playing in the Test at Lords as he will also face hooting, jeers, and slogans from the crowd.
“But he has to focus a lot on his bowling. If he performs well on this tour he will emerge as a world class pace bowler,” he added.
The former captain, although, is not happy with England captain, Alastair Cook’s statement on Aamir and said there was no need for the skipper to get into this discussion.
Wasim also advised Pakistan to select leg-spinner, Yasir Shah in all Tests and start the proceeding with two left arm pacers and a right arm pacer.
“They would make a mistake if they went in with three left arm pacers. Because there will be spells where the English batsmen will dominate,” he said.
Meanwhile, Waqar said his biggest concern is the opening slot. “Our openers are still struggling so I would still go in with Hafeez because of his experience despite his poor form in the side matches.”