As Pakistan started their chase against Ireland on day 5 in their own unique way, a lot of questions started to be raised whether Azhar Ali is in fine shape and form for the upcoming tests or not? Should Haris Sohail play the next test? “Imam might get out in a couple of overs as well, justice for Fawad Alam!”, but things settled down a bit once the experienced Asad Shafiq came in and fans believed he might resist the pressure along with his batting partner now. But Shafiq goes back for cheap as well! It seems like Tim Murtagh tuned in into his inner McGrath! “Should Asad really bat at 4 rather than his old position no.6?” “Why did he try to attempt to play off-side when the ball was clearly coming in?”. These arguments kept on going in our minds and for a moment everyone thought its Ireland’s match!
But as Imam decided to save his uncle as well as the team from such humiliation, everything started to seem perfect. Of course, because Pakistan won the match. But things aren’t as perfect as they should be against a side like England. The following changes might help Pakistan be much competitive then they are capable of against England.
After impressive form in PSL for Quetta, Rahat’s tactics impressed as they were much improved and his ability to move the ball was decent enough, got him back into the squad. He would’ve been handy in these conditions, as a left-arm bowler but ended up achieving the second worst bowling average in the history of cricket Pakistan. He now averages 39. He does not seem to be any threat anymore and inclusion of a bowler like Sadaf Hussain or Imran Khan would have been a better choice to go with but since they aren’t with the team at the moment, Pakistan should difinitely go with Hassan Ali for the Lords test, hasn’t really made up his mark in test cricket and Lords would be a perfect venue to show potential with the red ball.
Yes, he did score 59 and saved the match but he was also dropped at 9 runs. Sarfraz should rest Asad and replace him with Usman Salahuddin for the tour match against Leicestershire. If Babar does carry on some form in the game against Leicestershire, then he’s all good to be onboard for the Lords test but if he doesn’t, there’s no other better option than Usman Salahuddin.
We all know how dangerous and lethal Amir can be once he gets a wicket but the Pakistani slips have been a little lazy in executing the process of claiming a wicket. Steve Rixon can either improve the slip skills (which he has been for 2 years now) or just wait till the end of his contract.
Just stick to the plan!
This is a great opportunity for a young Pakistani side to prove themselves as a strong unit and the series ahead with England is going to be a very important series for Pakistan’s cricket overall to establish itself as a cricketing brand for a long time. This is one of those opportunities which Eminem talks about in Lose Yourself. Pakistan does have a chance, but that chance can turn into reality if a proper, solid plan is in use.