July 5, 2016

Former national skipper and iconic seamer Wasim Akram has expressed belief that the upcoming series against England will be a tough one for Pakistan. Speaking to AFP, the 50-year old also backed leg-spinner Yasir Shah to be a potential game-changer in a balanced bowling attack.

Akram enthused, “England have shown remarkable confidence in the last 18 months, beating South Africa in South Africa, qualifying for the final of the World Twenty20 and winning against Sri Lanka, so they will be tough to beat.”

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Imploring his countrymen to take the fight to the hosts across all disciplines, the veteran added, “For me the only way is to do ‘tit for tat’ in all departments of the game if you want to beat them.”With Mohammad Amir set to make a return to the Test arena after serving a 5-year ban for spot-fixing, all eyes would be on the promising pacer. However, Akram cautioned against imparting massive expectations and instead advised him to enjoy the occasion.The legendary left-arm from Lahore affirmed, “It won’t be easy for him (Amir). My advice to him will be to enjoy the game, he has got pace and skill so go out and try to do his best.”

An instrumental part of Pakistan’s three consecutive Test series victories on English soil from 1987 to 1996, Akram opined that the presence of an accurate wrist-spinner in Yasir Shah could make a huge difference to the outcome.Endorsing Shah’s credentials, he declared, “Amir can be the leader of the pack which also has a quality leg-spinner Yasir Shah. I think if Shah is fit he can be the trump card in a varied bowling attack”.

Incidentally, the 1996 tour was the last time when Pakistan defeated England in a Test series outside Asia. Wasim felt that the visitors’ experienced middle-order should have to overcome a stiff challenge against the swinging ball if they are to end the 20-year wait.Akram hoped, “It will be a tough ask for Pakistan batsmen. I don’t buy the opinion that July and August will be dry so the pitches will be easier. No, there will be difficulties for batsmen as the Duke ball swings more and the edges carry to the slips.” Pakistan will begin their 4-Test series against England at the historic Lord’s cricket ground from July 14 onwards.

Courtesy: SPORTS KEEDA



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