Pakistan's youngsters including Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf show promise of a bright Test future

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Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf were the biggest positives for Pakistan.

Pakistan’s tour of Ireland and England came to an end with an innings defeat at the hands of the latter in the second Test at Headingley.

Despite the chastening defeat at Leeds, Sarfraz Ahmed’s men can hold their heads high after beating Ireland in the one-off historic Test at Dublin and thrashing England by nine wickets at Lord’s.

It was a Pakistan side filled with many young faces who were just making their baby steps in Test cricket. Here, we take a look at how these Pakistan youngsters performed on the tour.

IMAM-UL-HAQ 

The nephew of former skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq made his Test bow for Pakistan in the match against Ireland. The 22-year-old opening batsman gave a good account of himself in the two tour matches against Kent and Leicestershire where he registered two half-centuries.

Imam’s match against Ireland was an eventful one and resulted in a fine unbeaten 74 in the second innings which took the visitors to victory. He was unable to repeat those heroics in the England series with a highest score of 34 in four innings. Nevertheless, the youngster has shown plenty of promising signs for a bright future in the opening spot for Pakistan.

Imam-ul-Haq was terrific in the second innings against Ireland.

Imam-ul-Haq was terrific in the second innings against Ireland.

HASAN ALI

Prior to the tour of Ireland and England, Hasan Ali had played just one sole Test for Pakistan against the West Indies last year.

Though the pacer was not selected for the Ireland Test, he grabbed his chance in England with a four-wicket haul in the first innings at Lord’s. That was the high point for Ali in the tour with it all going downhill thereafter.

While he did pick up two wickets in Headingley, the pacer’s dropped catch of Jos Buttler proved to be a highly costly one for his side. Showed a lot of encouraging signs but lacked the consistency.

Hasan Ali had a great time in the Lord's Test.

Hasan Ali had a great time in the Lord’s Test.

FAHEEM ASHRAF

The 24-year-old all-rounder has seen plenty of limited-overs action for Pakistan in the past and was finally given his Test debut in the Test against Ireland. Ashraf made an instant impact by scoring a highly vital 83 in the first-innings after Pakistan were in all sorts of trouble.

The all-rounder carried that form to the England leg where he chipped in with both bat and ball. He claimed five wickets in all during the three Tests and has given Pakistan a handy fourth seamer option. His ability to make valuable contributions with the bat down the order was pleasing to watch and he could be one player the Pakistan set-up could look to groom as the designated all-rounder for the future.

Ashraf could fill the all-rounder's void in the Pakistan team.

Ashraf could fill the all-rounder’s void in the Pakistan team.

SHADAB KHAN

Like Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan had played just the sole Test prior to departure for Ireland and England. He was only given this opportunity after an injury to fellow leg-spinner Yasir Shah but young Shadab’s performances on the tour made sure that the senior bowler was hardly missed.

More than his leg-spin, it was the 19-year-old’s showing with the bat that has found him many new admirers. With three half-centuries in the three Tests, Shadab has shown some genuine all-round credentials which will excite the Pakistan think tank no end.

The youngster picked up seven wickets in the three Tests but also finished with a 10-wicket haul in Pakistan’s tour match against Northamptonshire. He showed no signs of nerves as a youngster on his first England tour which is always a great sign for a player.

Shadab Khan was the pick of the bunch from Pakistan's youngsters.

Shadab Khan was the pick of the bunch from Pakistan’s youngsters.

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Pakistan duo Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq in line for county contracts

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The two Pakistan batsmen are in the sights of county outfits.

Pakistan pair of Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq could be in line for county cricket deals according to latest reports.

According to a report by ESPN Cricinfo, the two Pakistan batsmen could seen be playing in England’s domestic competitions soon if all goes to plan.

Azhar is reportedly in line to replace India skipper Virat Kohli at Surrey. Kohli was due to spend the month of June with the south London outfit but a neck injury sustained in the IPL meant that stint never took off.

Kohli’s loss, could be Azhar’s gain although a spokesperson from Surrey has denied that any talks have taken place with the Pakistan man.

Meanwhile, Shafiq is being targeted by Somerset to replace Australia’s Matt Renshaw according to the report.

Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur has backed Azhar and Shafiq to play country cricket due to their non-involvement in white-ball cricket.

Head coach Mickey Arthur wants the pair to play county cricket.

Head coach Mickey Arthur wants the pair to play county cricket.

“Our chosen players, we’re hoping to get Azhar and Asad to play some county cricket.  There is a little bit of interest at the moment, for a short period of time. Because those guys don’t go to these [T20] leagues and stuff, if they were to play county cricket we’d certainly encourage that,” the South African said.

Azhar and Shafiq were both part of the Pakistan Test side which achieved a 1-1 draw in the two-match series against hosts England.

Both the senior batsmen did not have the best of times personally with Azhar only managing to score 73 runs combined in the three Tests against Ireland and England. Shafiq managed to register two half-centuries in the three Tests but his form remained a mixed-bag for the most part.

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Time just isn't right for Pakistan batsman Fawad Alam

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Pakistan batsman Fawad Alam just can’t catch a break nowadays. He is not considered good enough to be even part of the touring team, despite being one of the most prolific batsmen in Pakistan’s first-class cricket for 10 years, even as limited overs players and batsmen with modest returns getting Test caps.

Fawad’s exclusion has left many, including the player himself, perplexed. And just to add to the bemusement, the 32-year-old batsman managed to get himself timed out this week.

One of the rarest forms of dismissals in cricket, timed out implies a batsmen being declared out if he fails to reach the batting crease within two minutes of a fall of wicket. And Fawad got dismissed using that rarely witnessed ruling while he playing for Clitheroe Cricket Club in the Lancashire league.

Not only did Pakistan batsman suffer the ignominy of being timed out, he ended up breaking the dressing room window by accident.

Fawad insisted it was all a series of unfortunate incidents. “The dressing room window broke accidentally during the league match,” Alam was quoted as saying by the Daily Express. “It’s not my fault and the umpires also agree with me. Never in my career has a finger been pointed at me for indiscipline, so this incident was unfortunate and painful for me .”

Needless to say, Fawad is not in the best frame of mind (apologies for the pun) and he must be wondering what’s more in store for him.

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