We Will Try to Win, not Draw in England.
Azhar Ali vows to try to win the Test Series against England.
Pakistan’s Test Captain Azhar Ali has stated that the playing environment resulting from the unusual situation of the corona virus is not all that novel for Pakistan. Pakistan, he says, has already played in such an environment.
Azhar said that Pakistan’s record in England is a reassuring one but the aim this time will be to try to not just draw, but win the series.
Pakistan’s tour of England, consisting of 3 Tests and 3 T20 Internationals will commence on 5th August. However, the team will reach England five weeks prior to the start, so that after a 14 days quarantine, they have time left to practice in a bio-secure environment.
Cricketers will have to follow strict protocols during the series and their movement will be restricted between the stadium and the hotel. Crowds will also not be allowed. Azhar said that playing without a crowd is not unusual for Pakistan. However, the situation is different this time in the sense that everyone will have to take great care in following safety guidelines.
He said that Pakistan has played a lot of cricket without a crowd in Dubai, so that aspect is not strange. Also, when cricket returned to Pakistan the players would be confined between the hotel and the ground and that is not new either. There was a time he said, when people pointed out that cricket for Pakistan will always be about restriction to the ground and the hotel but now, the whole world will face this scenario. Following the corona prevention SOPs however, was certainly new to them.
He said it is obviously difficult to abandon the way of doing things that has been followed since childhood, but over the past two months, everyone has gotten used to following SOPs and knows them well.
According to the new ICC guidelines, players will not be allowed to use saliva for shining the ball, clapping on any success, or hugging each other in any scenario. However, Azhar said that they will get the opportunity while watching the England vs West Indies series, how best to follow the new guidelines and their impact.
He said that while the England vs West Indies series will give Pakistan the opportunity to observe the effects of the new guidelines, it will also give England the chance to acclimate itself to them, which could be a disadvantage for his team.
He said in response to a question, that the team is optimistic about the series, and excited about the return to grounds of cricket. He said the return of cricket is not just important for the fans; it is also important for the players. It is good that there has not been a long hiatus in the sport, because that would have meant the loss of a valuable year in the career of many cricketers.
He said about the three test series, that this is part of the World Test Championship, and his team is determined to win valuable championship points through it. He said that the purpose of taking a big squad and lots of red-ball specialists, was that if any problem arises, we have a substitute readily available.
He said that in the absence of Haris Sohail, there is a chance for Fawad Alam, who has waited quite long and on whose talent no one has any doubt. If the team takes the field with six batsmen, there is a good chance of him making the XI.
Azhar Ali, who has scored 5,919 runs for Pakistan in 78 Test matches, said that his personal target in this series is to spend a long time at the crease, and try to score at least two centuries in three matches. He said he hopes that he can contribute to the team performance with his scores.
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