Pakistan Test skipper Azhar Ali, in an interview with the media before jetting off with the squad for England, said that the Men in Green would are looking to target England’s fragile top-order in the 3-match test series starting in August.
Azhar said that the Three Lions have been trying different variations in their top-order following the retirement of veteran opener Alastair Cook but haven’t seemed to click in that department just yet.
“Looking at their batting, their top-order has been fragile for some time since Alastair Cook retired. They have tried a lot of combinations lately and might be looking a bit more settled, but they haven’t been really confident with it. So there is something for us in it to look at,” Azhar said.
“Their bowling attack is brilliant in their own conditions. Other than Jofra Archer we have faced all of them – Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Chris Woakes, Ben Stokes, Mark Wood, but we have still won against them,” he added.
The right-hander went added that his team was excited about the resumption of cricket in these tough times.
“Obviously this news about positive [coronavirus tests] gave us a scare. But we are happy now. The wait is over and cricket is resuming. There is a lot of excitement and hunger to play cricket. Now we have a month in England for preparation and hopefully, this is a sufficient time to focus on skills and get back in our groove. The boys are confident and looking forward for the tour which hopefully will go smoothly,” he said.
“Batting in England has always been tough but we did well in our previous outing. At home in our previous Test, our batsmen scored a lot of centuries. Confidence is still there, so we have a lot to take to England. Once we get 300-plus runs on the board, then I am hopeful that we will do well in the Test matches,” he added.
Meanwhile, 6 members of the Pakistan squad underwent third round of COVID-19 testing at a local hotel in Lahore, as per ARY News.
The 6 players were confirmed as Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan, and Wahab Riaz.
All of them were tested positive in the first round of testing, however, in Round 2 of the tests their results came out negative.
If their Round 3 results come out negative, The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will make immediate arrangements dispatch them over to England. Until then, the 6 aforementioned players will have to stay at the “Biosecure” environment of the local hotel.
It is to be known that a depleted 20-member squad along with 11 staff members arrived in Manchester via chartered flight from Lahore, on Sunday.
The team was then taken to Worcestershire where they will undergo the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) testing before completing their 14-day isolation period.
Amid their 2-week isolation period, the Men in Green will be allowed to train and practice at Blackfinch New Road. They will then movee to Derbyshire on 13 July.