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Sarfraz pins hopes on Shadab

Sports

May 9, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Master of English condition and swing bowling specialist Sarfraz Nawaz rated Shadab Khan as key to Pakistan’s chances against hosts Ireland in the inaugural Test, which will start in Dublin from May 11.

Talking to ‘The News’ from London on Tuesday, Sarfraz said he was eagerly waiting to see Shadab bowling against inexperienced Ireland. “Shadab’s unusual leg-spin bowling action would make him the best pick in the Test match. He has got very effective googly and conventional leg-spin which makes him dangerous against a team that is lacking experience of playing against the best spinners,” he said.

Sarfraz, who played all his life for Northamptonshire, termed the Northampton wicket as one with slow and low bounce. “It was more like a Karachi wicket where bounce was low as compared to other leading grounds of England. Asad Shafiq’s success as a batsman and Shadab’s 10-wicket haul against Northamptonshire in the four-day practice match were more due to the fact that these two were used to playing on such surfaces.”

The Melbourne hero said that Shadab would not find the same conditions in Dublin. “Still I feel that his unique bowling style and Ireland’s inexperience would help Shadab.”Sarfraz rued missing Yasir Khan. “He could have been a match winner against Ireland and would have been effective against England also as he was in the past. Here against Ireland I think Shadab would fill in his place.

“Apart from the leg-spinner, other Pakistani bowlers would also be in a pole position to take wickets. So, bowling wise I think Pakistan are well placed to finish off Ireland early. “He warned Pakistani batsmen against showing any complacency, believing that Ireland bowlers would not be in a position to bowl them out twice.

“Ireland have a good pace attack and they can put in trouble the Pakistan batting line-up. Batsmen will have to show their professionalism. Instead of hitting out at early stage, the up front batsmen would have to make efforts to stay at the wicket for a longer period to get used to the conditions.

“What Pakistan need is a couple of good innings and relatively good first innings score to take early initiative in the one off Test. The batsmen will have to pose a decent total to help bowlers win the Test,” the former fast bowler said.

Sarfraz, however, sees a tough two-match Test series against England. “England have never been pushovers at their home soil. Even the best teams struggled to beat them in the past. A weak Pakistan batting line-up has very little chance against quality England swing bowling.

“For the first time in the last decade I feel Pakistan batsmen touring England give a weak look. England bowlers especially James Anderson, Chris Woakes and Chris Broad have the potential to run through Pakistan batting line-up on responsive wickets. “So the batsmen will have to perform really well to make series interesting. Bowlers alone would not be as effective and decisive. Even Shadab would not be as successful as he is expected to be against Ireland,” Sarfraz said.