Azhar must focus on his batting to inspire team-mates: Ramiz
KARACHI: Former Captain and renowned commentator Ramiz Raja on Friday said Pakistan’s tour to England is great news for the revival of cricket in these challenging Covid-19 times and Pakistan Cricket board deserves a lot of credit for its bold and clear stance from day one about the England tour. “PCB fully deserves the credit here as they have maintained a positive and clear approach about the England tour from day one,” said Ramiz while talking to Dawn News. “It is absolutely great news that cricket is finally returning to action. I hope the series against Windies and Pakistan go smoothly in England to provide great entertainment to the lovers of the game.”
Ramiz said that Pakistan team’s preparation ahead of this tour was very challenging for the players because these are very extra ordinary circumstances. “We all know the players are professionals but path way of this series has not been easy for the players. They were not able to train as they would like and also medical tests ahead of the tough series have surely been a challenge,” he said.
“But these steps have been taken to ensure health and safety of the players and I think when these players get a chance to play warm up matches and later the against England they will be absolutely ready for the challenges.”
Ramiz admitted there are question marks on Azhar Ali’s leadership and he will have to lead from the front. “My advice will be for Azhar to first focus on his own batting. His captaincy wasn’t good in Australia and also in recent times his form has not been that great. so he should be focus on his batting first so that he can inspire his teammates,” said the former opening batsman. “Also, its a great chance for Babar Azam to again impress the world like he did in Australia and
Ramiz also advised Misbah to keep his mind open for best selection during the England Test series and all 29 players of the squad should be available for selection. “Test series against England will be tough for our top order because it is a bit raw and i can expect England bowlers and conditions to challenge them quite hard. The ban on saliva is also an key issue of this tour. Fast bowlers might not get the swing and help after new ball and we need to pick our bowlers very smartly,” said Ramiz.
“I think Haris Rauf can be an inspiring choice for Tests as well as for the T20s. And if our plan A does not go well. we should experiment in the next Test. Our fast bowling is also a bit raw but they have the potential to surprise England ,” observed Ramiz. “But we need to be smart in selection. Abbas is a bowler of England conditions but with ban on saliva, he may struggle as his pace is also not that great. Also I think Yasir Shah, if on song, will be the key factor for Pakistan in Test series.”
Commenting on Mohammad Hafeez’s behaviour with reference to corona tests, Ramiz said the player should apologize for his controversial tweet but the PCB should not take any action against him which will create needless controversy before the important series.”
Published in Dawn, June 29th, 2020