For former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi, a drawn Test series against England will be as good as winning.
Pakistan will start their three-Test campaign against England at the Old Trafford in Manchester on Wednesday.
“English conditions are difficult when it comes to Test matches. I have high hopes from our team and I think even if they can draw the series, it would be equal to winning,” Afridi told cricketpakistan.com.pk.
The 40-year-old noted that head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq, batting coach Younis Khan, bowling coach Waqar Younis and spin coach Mushtaq Ahmed had loads of experience of playing in England which will help the team.
“I think the presence of this management is a big plus for our team and I am confident that these former stalwarts will be able to guide the players well from session to session in the Tests,” he said.
Afridi also said he was looking forward to some top performances from Babar Azam in the series. “He is a wonderful talent and I don’t think he has taken the pressure of being made captain. His game has improved and he loves challenges. He is going to be the backbone of the Pakistan batting and he is a very focussed player. In the coming days, he should single-handedly win matches for Pakistan,” he said.
The former skipper, who took retired from Test cricket in 2010 while captaining the side in England having played 27 matches, represented Pakistan in 398 ODIs and 99 T20 Internationals before retiring from international cricket in 2016.
Afridi expressed satisfaction at the pace bowling resources available in Pakistan cricket and said the country had always produced some top class pace bowlers.
“I see a great future ahead of Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi and we also have the experienced pack of Wahab Riaz, Muhammad Abbas, Muhammad Amir and Sohail Khan who can teach these youngsters a lot in England,” he said.
Afridi said England’s batsmen will not find it easy going against the Pakistani pacers like Naseem, Shaheen or Abbas and the touring side had the clear edge in the spin bowling department due to the experienced Yasir Shah. He also stated that once a player graduates to the national team it is not a place for him to learn and improve.
“Once you are selected for Pakistan, you are supposed to perform and not learn at this level. I don’t agree with this concept. If you pick a player for Test matches, he should be able to perform,” he said.
(With inputs from PTI)
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