Monday, 6 June 2016

Pakistan name Test Squad for Exciting but Difficult Tour of England

I have really missed the England v Pakistan test series the last one was in 2010. This one coming up will take place in July and August 2016,  In fact Pakistan have not played a Test match outside of the subcontinent since South Africa in 2013. 

Time does move on quickly, and in Cricket its no different. It was also in 2010 that Mohammad Amir was sentenced to six months in prison in England which he served at Portland Young offenders in Dorset for being found guilty of bowling two deliberate no balls. Spot Fixing. He was also banned from playing by the PCB for five years. His ban was more lenient than the other two players involved who received 7 and 10 years as that really ended their careers. 

Some people have said Amir should have got longer, some people are with the view that he was very young, this was a stupid mistake and he should be given another chance. Well that chance has come, he has already played for Pakistan in a one day series in New Zealand this year, and this will be his first chance for him to play Test Cricket. It is all subject to his VISA clearance, however that has been given the nod in principle by the ECB. (Now officially granted 7th June 2016)

Their other controversial player is of course Yasir Shah another young exciting cricketer with great potential that has just received a three month ban for doping. What a dope is all I can say. He is back in the squad as well after missing the T20 World Cup in India.

A big injury worry is the fitness of Mohammad Hafeez who is of course a wicket keeper batsman he has an on going knee injury so they have added Mohammad Rizwan into the squad as cover. He is very exciting prospect, but one we really have only seen on the one day circuit, his ability in a Test match has not yet been put to any scrutiny at all, but he will not be the only one. Opening the batting is likely to be Shan Masood and Sami Aslam who have played 7 and just 1 test respectively. I think this is going to be a major test for them up against an in form Anderson and co. Their more recognised opener Ahmed Shehzad was not selected due to disciplinary issues, great shame he won't be touring. This is a young side with little experience of conditions and "Test" match it certainly will be. 

They have a very good list of fixtures, and warm up with two x 3 day games against Somerset and Sussex. They also have a 2 day game against Worcestershire in between the 2nd and 3rd Test. Then before the ODI's their two warm up games will be in Ireland. I had the privilege to chat to Irish Cricket President Dr Murray Power in India at the World Cup and he said then that they were trying hard to get the top touring sides over to play them. Of course Ireland's gain is the England counties loss, but I suspect a little one week break in Ireland during a 10 week tour of England, is going to be very hard to resist indeed. 

3th-5th July Somerset at Taunton
8th-11th July Sussex at Hove
14th-18th July England 1st Test at Lords
22nd-26th July England 2nd Test at Old Trafford
29th-30th July Worcestershire at Worcester
3rd-7th Aug England 3rd Test at Edgbaston
11th-15th Aug England 4th Test at Oval
18th Aug ODI v Ireland
20th Aug ODI v Ireland
24th Aug 1st ODI England at Ageas Bowl
27th Aug 2nd ODI England at Lords
30th Aug 3rd ODI England at Trent Bridge
1st Sep 4th ODI  England at Headingly
4th Sep 5th ODI England at Cardiff
7th Sep T20 England at Old Trafford

The full squad of players is Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Mohammad Hafeez (subject to fitness), Shan Masood, Sami Aslam, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Iftikhar Ahmed, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Yasir Shah, Zulfiqar Babar, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali, Sohail Khan, Imran Khan.

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