Pakistan ready to challenge England

London: Pakistan coach Misbah-ul-Haq has urged his side to get off to a flying start in its Test series with England, saying it must be at its best ‘right from the word ‘go’.

England is notoriously sluggish starter and has lost the opener in eight of its past 10 Test series, including a recent 2-1 home success against the West Indies that marked international cricket’s return from the coronavirus lockdown.

It now returns to Old Trafford, the scene of its two victories over Jason Holder’s men, for the first Test in another three-match series, against Pakistan, starting on Wednesday.

Misbah, suggesting England would have the advantage of momentum, told reporters on Monday:
We should be ready for an England team that have already had three matches of experience and they won their last two Test matches.

We have to really come in this Test series right from the word ‘go’ at our best if we want to win a Test series or a Test match here.

We are aware that England have a slight advantage but if we are alert and go 100 percent in the first Test match, that is the only way we can beat England, otherwise we will find ourselves in difficulty.”

Both England and Pakistan, who have played two intra-squad warm-up matches, boast talented pace attacks but Misbah, Pakistan’s captain when it drew a four-match series in England four years ago, believes his side also have the batsmen to give its bowlers enough runs to defend.

It’s always tough with the Duke ball in England where the ball moves around off the seam and also in the air, Misbah said.

But this is where you can really fight and our batting looked in great shape in the last two series. We played in Pakistan but even in Australia we managed to score good runs in almost every innings.

Shan Masood, Abid Ali scored centuries in previous series (at home to Bangladesh in February and at home to Sri Lanka in December). Conditions are different but still confidence plays a huge role in your mind when you’re coming from a series where you scored runs.

Azhar (Ali) got a hundred (too, against Sri Lanka).

In 2016 Asad Shafiq scored runs here, Babar Azam last time performed here in 2018 (when Pakistan drew a two-match series in England 1-1) and the way he’s batting at the moment, he’s confident and playing well.’

Trott appointed batting coach
Former batsman Jonathan Trott has been appointed England’s batting coach for the upcoming three-Test series against Pakistan.
The 39-year-old, who scored 3835 runs in 52 Tests between 2009-2015 for England, will be joined by former New Zealand spinner Jeetan Patel and Warwickshire seamer Graeme Welch, the ‘BBC’ reported.

Trott, who played 68 ODIs and seven T20 matches, has scored 18,662 runs in firstclass cricket. England and Pakistan will lock horns in a three-match Test series starting Wednesday at the Old Traford in Manchester, followed by the next two games in the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.