Pakistan’s Twenty20 captain Mohammad Hafeez said that the team will be banking on its pace artillery to win the upcoming limited-overs series in India.
Hafeez’s comments come at a time when India were handed a 10-wicket drubbing by England in the second Test in Mumbai – Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann shared 19 wickets between them. But given the spin attack Pakistan has – Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi, Hafeez himself and the likelihood of Raza Hasan being part of the squad – it is highly unlikely that India will prepare turning pitches for the series.
But despite the slow-bowling riches, Pakistan are likely to attack India with something that has worked for them in the past – pace.
“Historically our pacers have always troubled the Indian batsmen in India and this time also we will be banking on them to do the same thing again,” said Hafeez who added that spin was not the answer against Asian sides. “There is no doubt that Ajmal and Afridi are world-class bowlers but against Asian teams they have not had the same degree of success as opposed to other sides.
“The reason for this is simple. Asian batsmen grow up in conditions which spinners thrive in and therefore learn to cope with them from an early age. That is one reason why teams touring India always try to outgun the Indian team through their pace attack.”
Hafeez said the Pakistani fast-bowlers selected for the tour will have to be at their best.
“If our pacers bowl well and get wickets, there is no reason why we can’t win the series.”
Since the bans handed out to Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, Pakistan’s pace battery faces constant chopping and changing. While Umar Gul looks certain to be part of the squads despite his inconsistency, other slots are still open.
“We have some exciting talent in the pace department and it is now up to the selectors to select the best lot.”
The national selectors are said to be considering picking four to five pace bowlers for the India tour and 19-year old pacer Ehsan Adil, who has been outstanding in the first class President’s Trophy, could get a nod. The out-of-contention left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz, who took five wickets against India at Mohali in the 2011 World Cup semi-final, has also shown consistent form in domestic matches recently. But chief selector Iqbal Qasim, though, told The Express Tribune yesterday that there will not be much experimentation for the upcoming series.
“Asian batsmen grow up in conditions which spinners thrive in and therefore learn to cope. That is one reason why teams touring India always try to outgun the Indian team through their pace attack.”
“If we manage to contain their batsmen with good bowling then we stand a good chance of achieving good results. Otherwise, it will become a very tough series for us.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 30th, 2012.