Pakistan skipper Azhar Ali and his men all geared-up for first England Test

MANCHESTER: Pakistan quick Naseem Shah bowls under the watchful eye of coach Waqar Younis at Old Trafford Ground on Tuesday. Pakistan will take on England in their first Test on Wednesday (today).

LAHORE: Pakistan’s Test captain Azhar Ali, while talking to media personnel through video link on Tuesday, expressed his optimism ahead of the first Test against England after claiming that their previous performances in the country have raised their spirits. “My men are looking forward to the challenge, having drawn their last two tours to England, most recently under Misbah in 2018. We’ve prepared as best as we could in the time we had. The players have put in a lot of effort and we believe we’re ready for the tests,” Azhar said. “Everyone is raring to go… We have to be on top of our game in all departments against a team like England… We have to have a clear mind and positive attitude that we can win matches here.”

The 35-year-old revealed that the star-studded coaching staff that was accompanying the Men in Green for their tour of England guided the team without imposing their own will on the players. “We are guided by Younis Khan, Mushtaq Ahmed and Misbahul Haq but they do not enforce things on us. As a captain I am not facing any problems. I have been inconsistent with my performances and I know that. I am working hard on making those performances better. Asad Shafiq and I will have to step up for the side. We will have to accustom ourselves with these hard times. All cricketers want to compete. The two boards decided that this series should happen and we have enjoyed the training camps,” Azhar said.

Azhar believed that Pakistan’s batting had a vast amount of experience while the bowling department had enough firepower to defend a big score. “A tour to England is always hard but our past performances here raise our spirits. Our batting has a lot of experience. The team has a great combination. We cannot ignore any department in Test cricket. If we can post a big total than we have enough firepower in the bowling department to win matches. Spin will play a big role. Yasir Shah has proved himself time and time again. We can go into the match with two spinners,” he said. The right-handed batsman claimed that their bowling department lacked experience but made up for it through their passion and skill. We will try to start the series with a win no matter the conditions. We will try to bat well. We don’t have a lot of experience in the bowling department but they are passionate and skillful which can result in great performances. We will enter the ground without any fear and with the will to win,” he concluded.

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