Pakistan will be looking to target England’s ‘fragile’ top-order: Azhar Ali
Pakistan Test captain Azhar Ali has fired shots at England’s top-order and called it “fragile”. Before leaving for England on Sunday, Azhar called England’s bowling attack “brilliant” in their home condition. However, Azhar Ali added that his team have faced all their bowlers accept Jofra Archer and have even won matches against the bowling line-up.
After the retirement of former captain Alastair Cook, England have found it difficult to discover a consistent and permanent opening batting pair. Three Lions have tried 6 opening batting pairs since the departure of Cook and non of the pairs have opened together on more than 9 occasions.
“Their bowling attack is brilliant in their own conditions and there is no doubt about it. Other than Jofra Archer we have faced all of them – Broad, Anderson, Woakes, Stokes and even Wood was there, but we have still won against them,” Azhar Ali told ESPNcricinfo.
Notably, Pakistan have won 3 out of 6 Test matches in England since 2016.
“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,” 35-year-old Azhar Ali added.
The Lahore-born captain praised his inexperienced but skilful and young bowling attack and asserted that they have the potential of troubling any team in the world. Azhar Ali added that the experience of bowling coach Waqar Younis and spin consultant Mushtaq Ahmed will further help Pakistan bowlers to sharpen their skills.
“In terms of number of games, of course England have tons of experience in their bowling. But we have the skills: they [our bowlers] are young and have a lot to offer. They can give trouble to any team in the world. In a very short time, they have achieved a lot and that is a good sign.
“You can’t buy experience immediately, and for that you obviously have to play more, but then we have a very experienced coaching staff with Waqar Younis and Mushtaq Ahmed. Their expertise and knowledge can be utilised and they will be helping them. So I believe, when this combo of experience and skill is brought together, that we can produce a great result. I am confident about this,” Azhar Ali sated.
A 20-member Pakistan squad left for England on Sunday. The team will play 3 Test matches and as many T20I in England from July 30 to September 2.