KARACHI: Former opening batsman Shoaib Mohammad has praised the management for giving the senior players some well-deserved rest and instead providing thee players on the bench an opportunity to prove themselves in the side match against Worcestershire.
Most of the players that featured in the first two matches between Pakistan and England at Lord’s and Old Trafford were on the bench, with skipper Misbahul Haq, batsmen Younus Khan and Mohammad Hafeez, wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed and bowlers Yasir Shah and Mohammad Amir all sitting it out.
Instead, the likes of Sami Aslam, Iftikhar Ahmad, Zulfiqar Babar, Imran Khan, Sohail Khan and Mohammad Rizwan took to the field for the practice match.
The four-match Test series is currently level at 1-1 with the third Test set to begin on August 3 at Edgbaston.
“It’s a good decision by the team management to give some rest to players who are seniors and vital for Pakistan in the Test series,” Shoaib told The Express Tribune. “It is important to manage their workload and fatigue because they have been playing almost constantly for the last six to seven months. This rest would allow them to gather their thoughts because it’s important that Pakistan bounce back stronger and these six rested players will play an important role.”
Shoaib feels Pakistan need to make two or three changes to the playing eleven since England have worked out most of their plans, which makes the side match a vital chance to impress for fringe players.
He urged the team management to give Sami Aslam a chance, despite his inexperience, and suggested Pakistan should rest Wahab.
“The team management should give Aslam a chance because our top-order has failed so far,” he said. “If a youngster fails then no problem but if he clicks then he could be the find of the tour. I would also like to see Imran or Sohail come in for Wahab because that will disturb the English batsmen.”
The 55-year-old also feels Pakistan can rest ace leg-spinner Yasir, who has had a hot and cold tour so far as he followed up his match-winning 10-wicket haul in the first Test with arguably the worst-ever bowling performance by a Test number one bowler.
“A big call can be made by resting Yasir because all of England’s focus is on neutralising him, so it might be a good gamble to throw in Zulfiqar, who is a proven bowler,” said Shoaib. “But I don’t think the management can take such a bold step.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2016.