KARACHI: Pakistan, after successful outings in the limited-overs series against the West Indies, will be looking to carry the same momentum into the Test series with the first match starting from Thursday at the Sabina Park in Kingston.
Winning this series has been made all the more important as this will be the last Test series for two of Pakistan’s stalwarts, captain Misbahul Haq and veteran batsman Younus Khan, and the team will be looking to give them a fitting farewell.
While the motivation to win the series will certainly be on every player’s minds, former Test cricketer Jalaluddin believes that the onus is now on the team management to utilise the players in the best possible way if they are to translate that motivation into results.
Pakistan played really poorly in the drawn warm-up match ahead of the three-Test series and Jalaluddin believes the team management erred in the setting up of the batting order.
“They [team management] have to take some strong decisions and come up with a good line-up, with much of their focus on selecting good openers. We have to create a strong base in the start to be able to put up a strong total,” he said. “We have some good batmen in the squad, but are not being used in the right position. The players know at what place they can play; they should be sent on the place where they are comfortable.”
The 57-year-old, however, was satisfied with the bowling attack Pakistan possess and believes the bowlers, especially the spinners, can really trouble the hosts.
“Shadab [Khan] is a great bowler and I am confident he will do well in Test cricket. In fact, the pitches and conditions in West Indies will favour the spinners. All they need to do now is follow the team plan and they will be good to go,” he said.
Constant shuffling damaging team: Shoaib
Former test cricketer Shoaib Muhammad believes that it’s high time that the team management comes up with a consistent line-up as constant reshuffling is affecting the mentality of the players.
“The re shuffling in the team affects the batsmen’s performance as they lose concentration. The management should finalize a line-up and stick to it if they are to really build a side for the future. Only in the case of a very poor performance from a player should he be dropped,” he said.
Talking about the team’s bowling prowess, Shoaib gave his backing to fast-bowler Hasan Ali.
“Hasan is a really good bowler and his in-cutter is unplayable at times. He would be a great option for the management as he brings a different dimension to the game,” he said.
New players should be given a chance to shine: Sallu
Former chief selector Salahuddin Sallu said that the team should use the young talent who have been picked for the first time. “Players like Muhammad Abbas, who has been a top bowler in first-class cricket since the two years should be given a chance in the Test matches,” he said.
He also said that it will be an important match for Misbah and Younus ahead of their retirement and tipped them to do well in their farewell game. “They will be able to put in the runs needed for them to be remembered in a good way, but they will have to work hard for it,” he said. “It’s an important series for them and they would certainly want to end their careers on a winning note.”