Pakistan batting great Younis Khan backed Babar Azam to rise to the challenge and team up with with established batsmen like Azhar Ali and Sarfraz Ahmed to put up a good fight against England during the two-Test series which begins at Lord’s on Thursday.
Pakistan have selected a young team that has a few limited overs specialists. However, middle order batsman Azam looks like he has the technique and temperament to handle tough English conditions.
“Babar performs not only in one-dayers and T20s but he performs everywhere. So I think they (batting) will be able to handle those conditions,” Younis said.
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Pakistan’s two-day practice match against Leicestershire ended in a draw with leg-spinner Shadab Khan delivering once again with the ball.
Leicestershire reached 226 for six when stumps were called on Sunday. Middle order batsman Atiq Javid hit a half-century as almost all of the hosts’ batsmen got among the runs.
Pakistan’s fast bowlers were a disappointment as only Mohammad Abbas picked up a wicket, and that too of lower order batsman Tom Wells. Rahat Ali, Hasan Ali and all-rounder Faheem Ashraf all went wicketless.
However, there was some comfort for Hasan and Faheem as the former gave away just 18 runs in his 10 overs while the latter went for 10 in his nine. Hasan also bowled with a fair bit of pace, staking his claim for inclusion in the Test playing XI.
Leg-spinner Shadab (2-32) trapped opener Sam Evans lbw for 22 before dismissing captain Lewis Hill for 33.
Earlier, Pakistan openers Azhar Ali and Fakhar Zaman made fifties and shared a century stand on the first day of the warm-up match at Grace Road on Saturday.
Azhar hit 73 while Fakhar made 71 as the openers added 121 before middle order batsman Usman Salahuddin scored 69.
Pakistan declared their innings on their overnight score of 321 for nine.
The match was Pakistan’s last before they play England at Lord’s on Thursday in the first of two Tests
The charity T20 match will be played between some of the biggest names in cricket and a West Indies team at Lord’s on May 31. The match is being organised to raise funds for venues in the Caribbean damaged by hurricanes last year.
Afridi, who is part of the World XI team, had tweeted on Thursday that his doctor had advised him to rest his injured knee for three further weeks.
However, on Friday, Afridi said he will play at Lord’s on May 31. “I will be playing ICC World XI vs West Indies as I feel strongly to support this as a cricketer and Muslim,” Afridi tweeted on Friday.
I will be playing @ICC World XI vs @westindies as I feel strongly to support this as a cricketer & Muslim. I am following the rehab plan my Doctor gave 💯%. My Allah recommends to help people in need with all the power I have. C u @HomeOfCricket on 31st and let’s keep #HopeNotOut— Shahid Afridi (@SAfridiOfficial) May 18, 2018
Earlier on Thursday, Afridi has posted a tweet where he seemed to have ruled himself out of the charity match.
The 38-year-old had picked up the knee injury during the Pakistan Super League this year. Earlier, Nepal leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane was added to the World XI squad after Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan withdrew due to personal reasons.