Saqlain still sees positive outcome

Our Correspondent
Friday, Dec 02, 2022

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan team head coach Saqlain Mushtaq predicted an exciting end of the first Test between Pakistan and England here at the Pindi Stadium while England batsman Ben Duckett believed that it would be too difficult to pick 20 wickets for a team to win the opening Test.

The contrasting statements came at a media talk following the opening day’s play. “There is a lot remaining in the Test as in all probabilities it is heading towards an exciting end. Just pray that Pakistan ends up winning the Test,” Saqlain said.

He defended the team management's decision to pick a three-pronged pace attack. “We selected Mohammad Ali ahead of others as he was bowling well at the nets. At the same time, we preferred Zahid Mehmood over Abrar Ahmad as he has been with the team for over a year now. He was in the queue and that is why he deserved selection ahead of Abrar. We also selected all-rounder Agha Salman in the lineup but never have considered Saud Shakil an all-rounder.”

The head coach then admitted that Pakistan’s management was expecting more support from the wicket. “Admitted that there was nothing special in the wicket for the bowlers on an opening day.” England opener Ben Duckett conceded that the pitch was very good to bat on.

“Yeah, I think it was a very good pitch to bat on and an important toss to win. It's going to be tough work to take 20 wickets on the pitch. We also followed our plan well. Pakistan definitely struggled today. But the pitch will be the same for both teams.”

“England now plays this particularly aggressive style of cricket. I was just wondering how effective it scales now that this is the first Test you're playing away from home since Brendon McCullum came in and how effectively and easily scales to Pakistan as it did at home.”