Pakistan Test captain Azhar Ali feels that all the Pakistan players have adapted the English condition after their first two-day intra-squad scenario-based practice match.
On Wednesday (8th July), international cricket finally resumed with the beginning of the Southampton Test between England and West Indies. After the ongoing three-match Test series between England and West Indies, England will play the three-match home ODI series against Ireland.
Then, Pakistan will play the three-match Test series (5th August to 25th August) and three-match T20I series (28th August to 1st September) against the hosts England. The Test series between England and Pakistan will be the part of the ICC World Test Championship 2019-21.
Pakistan players have already reached in England. Between 5th and 6th July, Pakistan players were involved in a two-day intra-squad scenario-based practice match at Worcester. Azhar Ali believes that it was a positive match practice as it helped them to adapt the English condition before the beginning of the Test series in this tour.
In the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) official website, Azhar said, “Both batsmen and bowlers have adapted to the conditions. The wind was troubling the bowlers initially but they overcame it, which was heartening. Definitely, the players are going to need some time to adjust. Despite the break, they are in good shape which is a positive sign for us.”
All the batsmen batted quite well: Azhar Ali
The Pakistan Test captain talked about how the batsmen seemed in good shape during that inter-squad scenario-based practice match.
He added, “All the batsmen batted quite well especially Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq and Abid Ali seemed in total control, Shan Masood adapted well to the conditions and Mohammad Rizwan looked in good shape.”
Azhar also feels that the presence of the 30-year-old pacer Mohammad Abbas is crucial for the team as his experience can be utilised to guide the youngsters in this overseas tour.
The Pakistan Test captain continued, “Mohammad Abbas is our experienced bowler and his presence is of advantage for us as he also keeps guiding the youngsters. He is someone who can be a very important member of the attack for us. Naseem Shah bowled very well in the scenario-based match. He will attain more control as he continues to bowl.”
No matter how much you practice, playing matches is always more beneficial: Azhar Ali
Before their first Test in this England tour, which will begin on 5th August at Old Trafford (Manchester), Pakistan will play another two-day inter-squad match on 15th and 16th July 2020. Later, they will also play two four-day matches. As they haven’t played the game for a long time, Azhar feels that they have to follow step-by-step to get ready for the game.
Azhar commented, “We are playing cricket after a long time and it is not going to be easy to start at full-strength. We have to go step-by-step and I am very happy that the boys utilised their practice time of four days well.
“No matter how much you practice, playing matches is always more beneficial. If you spend half of your practice’s time in scenario-based matches, it gives you a lot more confidence. Playing this scenario-based match was very important for us.”
Azhar also felt that it was difficult to adjust with the new regulations during their two-day intra-squad scenario-based practice match at Worcester. While only the pacers were sweating in that game, it was becoming very difficult to shine the ball every time. However, he also believes that this problem can be solved in warmer conditions.