July 10, 2010

Can Pakistan do it in Tests as well?


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Well who would dare ruling Pakistan out of the Test series now after they have got the better of Australia in both the Twenty20 Internationals? Obviously there’s a world of difference between the two formats but there’s one thing called momentum which is very much with Shahid Afridi’s men at the moment.

No matter how inexperienced or shallow in strength they may look on paper I don’t think Pakistan are ever out of a contest until they are actually beaten. They have had this tendency of coming back from the dead and shocking their most fancied of rivals over the years.

Not many people back home demonstrated faith in the Pakistan team when it left the shores of the country to combat two of the strongest outfits in world cricket today, Australia and England in what was expected to be a forgettable summer.

But a lot has changed in a matter of just two days and Pakistan have suddenly come into the contention from nowhere.

“They are going to be tough opposition in the Test match. They' are going to have a very good attack, so our batters have to be at our best with the Duke ball that I'll imagine they'll get to swing, in conditions where, if it's overcast, it's going to be quite tough. I think we're in for a really good Test series,” Michael Clarke observed after his side was floored in both the T20 games at Edgbaston.

Clarke, who had led Australia to victory in the ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean just a few weeks ago, sounded a warning to his teammates for the Tests after the drubbing in the shortest version of the game.

"If it's overcast here, I think they'll swing the ball nicely and they've got some pace as well. I think the Duke will help them. Conditions play a big part in England as to how much swing there is. If it's overcast there's generally a bit of swing the whole day. Hopefully the sun's out," Clarke, who will be the vice-captain to Ricky Ponting in the Test series, stated.

The Australians have had bitter experiences with the swing of the red Duke ball having caused considerable problems for their batsmen in the English conditions. They may not easily forget the banana swing in the summer of 2005 that had cost them the Ashes after a very long time.

The Pakistan fast bowlers may not possess that kind of experience or expertise of excelling in the English conditions as the likes of Simon Jones, Matthew Hoggard, Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison had to rattle the Aussies but you never know when they exceed expectations.

After the debacle in the T20 series the Australians will not make the mistake of going into the Test series half-heartedly as one might have thought given the edge they enjoyed over Pakistan.

The Australians had whitewashed Pakistan in every format of the game at home last season but that seems to be history now.


Recent Posts