Mon, 21 Sep 2020

England wary of slow start against Pakistan

04 Aug 2020, 16:10 GMT+10

"We've had good preparations and team bonding," Pakistan coach Misbah-ul-Haq said on Monday.

"Still we feel there is always a slight nervousness when you just play Test cricket after a long, long time (away)," he added ahead of his side's first Test in six months.

Misbah accepted that how his batsmen coped with James Anderson and Stuart Broad - who now both have more than 500 Test wickets each after Broad reached the landmark against the West Indies - would go a long way to determining the outcome of the series.

But the former Pakistan captain was also excited by a pace attack that includes the youthful promise of teenage rising star Naseem Shah as well as the accurate Mohammad Abbas, and towering left-armer Shaheen Shah Afridi.

Naseem has impressed Pakistan fast-bowling great turned bowling Waqar Younis and Misbah so much when they saw him in action in Lahore, the coach said they had no qualms about fast-tracking a "complete bowler" into Pakistan's side in Australia last year.

Naseem became the youngest bowler to take a Test hat-trick against Bangladesh in February and he showed a liking for English conditions with 10 wickets in the two practice matches at Derby.

"He is one who could win a Test match on his own," said Misbah of Naseem.

Pakistan, however, could still deploy two spinners at Old Trafford in Yasir Shah and Shadab Khan.

The West Indies failed to post a single individual century in their recent series. Pakistan will hope the likes of Abid Ali, the first man to score a hundred on both Test and one-day international debut, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Babar Asam and Asad Shafiq can provide the runs they need.

Meanwhile England must decide whether to stick with four quicks in their XI after Ben Stokes couldn't bowl in the West Indies decider because of a quad injury.

The star all-rounder was, however, reported to have bowled with good pace in the nets on Monday.

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