LONDON: Former Pakistan captain and ICC president Zaheer Abbas has said that Pakistan team has to struggle against mighty hosts England in both the Test matches.
Zaheer said: “We conceded too many runs in the second innings of the one off Test against Ireland. The green caps have to learn very quickly against England as winning Test matches is not an easy task and they will struggle against the hosts. The Lords Test is very important and they have to come up with clear plan and tails up, as if they play according to their potential, they are bound to do well against England in the two Test matches.”
The former captain said that when teams are playing, catches are dropped, some bad fielding is always on the cards, a few decision went against you, but it is all cricket and the good thing is that Pakistan players proved their mettle and despite batting fourth and chasing a decent target of 160 and losing three quick wickets, they still registered a comfortable victory.
“Always criticising the PSB, team, selectors and captain is not a healthy thing. I feel the boys were playing the Test match after a long gap while on the other hand, Ireland tails were up, as they had nothing to lose and they were playing at their own backyard, weather was chilly, supporting the home team.
“Pakistan team is in rebuilding process as there are no Misbah and Younus in it, while Imam and Faheem were making debuts and Shadab Khan is still yet to prove his worth, so considering the ground situation, I can feel the victory was well earned and the team and captain deserve credit,” he added.
Zaheer said as a leader, Sarfraz had to bat more sensibly and with a sense of responsibility and he had to improve his wicketkeeping as well, but having said that, it is also true the one-off Test was not easy and all the players did a reasonable job.
About the one off Test match, he said rain had washed out the first day’s play and Pakistan top order failed miserably in the first innings. “Had Shadab and Faheem not steadied the ship, the things could have been further worsened. The way they posted a very decent total and then our bowlers restricted the Irish team to only 130, I feel Sarfraz made the right decision of inflicting the follow on. It was not his fault that the bowlers didn’t provide him early breakthroughs, yes, a few catches were dropped as well, which didn’t help the cause, but it is a routine and catches are dropped.
“I feel the bowlers need to be more disciplined against England, as they are highly competitive side and they won’t commit same mistakes, which Irish did. Credit must be given to Kevin O’Brien as well, who batted superbly in both the innings and made his name in the history books by scoring a well-deserving century in the second innings, which could have been the turning point, as chasing 160 on last day was never easy. Had our bowlers bowled according to given plan, Ireland team would have folded within the 180, but anyhow, a win is a win and it will help boost the team’s morale. But on the other hand, green caps had to be very careful,” said the former ICC president.