Pakistan tougher test than Ashes says England assistant coach Paul Farbrace

Sport360 staff 17:19 07/10/2015
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Paul Farbrace is plotting yet more success with England alongside Trevor Bayliss.

England believe they have unfinished business, as they bid to become the first tourists to beat Pakistan since the relocation of their home Tests to the United Arab Emirates.

Alastair Cook's team are between warm-up matches on Wednesday, and assistant coach Paul Farbrace is confident they have made a fine start.

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He also cited an opportunity for Cook, and three other veterans of England's 3-0 defeat here in early 2012, to make up for that setback at a time when they had just risen to the top of the world rankings.

After last summer's Ashes success, England hope to be on the move upwards again.

The three-match series set to start in Abu Dhabi next week is a hazardous stepping stone to future progress, but Farbrace senses England have the right motivation and personnel to fare well here under Cook.

Having worked together previously with Sri Lanka, Bayliss and Farbrace reunited for Ashes glory.

He said: "We've got senior players who've been here and experienced it, and I think there was a feeling that – although they lost the last Test series here 3-0 – it was one they could quite easily have won.

"They didn't, that's history, it's gone now.

"But I think we've got a great chance with this group to play some really good cricket, and we're looking to be as positive as we possibly can be."

Farbrace is under no illusions about the difficulties which lie ahead, some apparent already as England had to dig deep for both runs and wickets in their drawn tour opener against Pakistan A.

"We're coming here knowing it's going to be a very, very tough series," he added.

"I said at the end of the Australian series I expected this to be a tougher series for us to play in."

So it was already as England began attuning themselves in the middle with bat and ball in Sharjah over the past two days, to promising effect but with room for improvement too.

England start their second two-day tour match against Pakistan A on Thursday.

"We knew it was going to be tough, very different obviously from conditions we've just played in the Ashes," Farbrace added.

"The application with the ball was outstanding.

"The one thing we've just had a quick chat about is that, to win a Test match, you've got to take 20 chances – and we've missed a couple of chances [here].

"That's something we'll have to work very hard on, and something we prided ourselves on in the Ashes series.

"We've still got a good few days to go, so there'll be plenty of catching (practice) done over the next few days.

"But generally, I think we had a really good two days. We saw how players adapted quite quickly to the situation and conditions."

Moeen Ali is thought to be first choice to partner Alastair Cook at the top of the order.

England have one major selection issue to confirm, although it appears – after being given the first chance to impress alongside Cook at the top of the order – Moeen Ali is the preferred option ahead of the uncapped Alex Hales to do so too, for the first time, in next week's first Test.

Farbrace nonetheless said: "Everybody in the 16, I think, genuinely has an opportunity … at this stage.

"I wouldn't rule anything in or out, and I think we need to keep our options open as long as we possibly can.

"Mo's had first go in this practice game, and we were very pleased with the way he applied himself … and that first hour was very difficult."

There is no doubt England will have two spinners in their Test team, debutant Adil Rashid to join Moeen.

Farbrace said: "It's exciting [to have them bowling together].

"It's the way we want to go, and I know [coach] Trevor (Bayliss) is a huge fan of two spinners in the side."

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