Team Pakistan had a mixed bag of time in England recently. They arrived in England riding high on confidence after beating Ireland. They beat England by 9 wickets at Lord’s but then slumped to an innings defeat in Headingley. Their head coach, Mickey Arthur, looked content with the way his side punched above their weight in the short series. He believes that there is certainly room for improvement for the Pakistani batsmen.
He feels that a County stint for a couple of Pakistani players can do a world of good to their skill sets. Micket Arthur took the names of Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq as the two players who he thinks will be very successful in the County cricket. He hailed the work ethic of the two players and is sure they will gain the most from this stint since they are anyway deprived of any other league exposure at the moment.
“[Of] Our chosen players, we’re hoping to get Azhar and Asad to play some county cricket, There is a little bit of interest at the moment, for a short period of time. Because those guys don’t go to these leagues and stuff; if they were to play county cricket, we’d certainly encourage that,” Mickey Arthur remarked.
“I know Azhar Ali, I know Asad Shafiq, I know their work ethic. Everybody knows the standards they have to meet. When they arrive to the team, they will be there physically, mentally and technically because they have to be. That is the criteria we set for them. I’d love to see them do county cricket. It is more time for them playing cricket and that’s got to be beneficial to us, I thought Asad played well this tour. Azhar will tell you himself he was a little short this tour. But he is a quality player – Azhar playing well is in the top 10 Test batsmen in the world,” he remarked.
On Sarfraz’s poor form
In the recently concluded Test series, most of the Pakistani batsmen got runs in one or the other innings. The only player to miss out in both the Test matches was Sarfraz Ahmed. The Pakistani skipper looked struggling with his form. Commenting on Sarfraz, Mickey Arthur hopes that the captain will start scoring soon. He cited that with the gloves, Sarfraz has been excellent behind the stumps. He just needs to up his game with the bat. Arthur is sure that his captain will respond well soon.
“Sarfraz has been disappointing this tour and he knows that I’m talking only with the bat – his keeping has been very good in the last two Tests. I’m very comfortable and I know he’ll come right. What he needs to work out is the balance between keeping, batting [at number 6] six and captaincy. That’s got to be his challenge going forward. I know he can handle that. He’s determined, he’s very passionate about this team and he’s a skilled batsman. Hopefully, runs are around the corner for him,” said the Pakistani head coach.