Sunday, 24 October 2021

Draw the series, it would be equal to winning: Shahid Afridi

Image Credit: Atiq Ur Rehman /Gulf News

MANCHESTER: International cricket returned last month with the England-West Indies three-match Test series proving to be an absorbing affair between the two sides. From August 05 (Wednesday), the Azhar Ali-led Pakistan line-up will square off versus England in a three-match Test series, which will be followed by three T20Is.

Ahead of Pakistan’s three Tests versus England, in challenging conditions and against formidable hosts, former skipper and all-rounder Shahid Afridi opened up on his national side’s chances. Speaking to Cricket Pakistan, Afridi told, “English conditions are difficult when it comes to Test matches. I have high hopes from our team and I think even if they can draw the series, it would be equal to winning.”

Further, the 40-year-old Afridi also pointed out that Pakistan’s team management comprises stalwarts such as head coach-cum-chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq, former pacer Waqar Younis (as bowling coach) and Younis Khan, serving as the batting coach, which will keep Azhar & Co. in good stead. “I think the presence of this management is a big plus for our team and I am confident that these former stalwarts will be able to guide the players well session to session in the Tests.”

Speaking on Pakistan’s new batting sensation and their limited-overs captain Babar Azam, Afridi mentioned, “He is a wonderful talent and I don’t think he has taken the pressure of being made captain. His game has improved and he loves challenges. He is going to be the backbone of Pakistan batting and he is a very focussed player. In the coming days, he should single-handedly win matches for Pakistan.”

Pakistan will fancy their chances in England against Joe Root-led hosts, comprising in-form Stuart Broad, Ben Stokes, James Anderson, etc. as the Asian side managed to draw their last two-Test series on England soil, in 2016 and 2018 respectively.

Moreover, statistics also back the Pakistani line-up as the visitors are capable of pulling off an upset against the home team.

Highest Test win percentages for touring teams in England since 2011:

  • Pakistan 50%
  • South Africa 42.86%
  • Australia 26.67%
  • New Zealand 25%
  • West Indies 22.22%
  • India 14.29%
  • Sri Lanka 12.50%

The Test series begins from August 05 in Manchester whereas the last two matches will be held in Southampton.

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