By: Azhar ul haq wahid

LAHORE-Pakistan bowling coach Waqar Younis has said that he feels the national team will be well prepared for the third and last Test match against England to be played in Southampton from August 21. 

Waqar said this during a virtual media talk with sports journalists. “Now I suppose I can say anything as the match didn’t complete. But the fact is that when we reached 200 plus runs, a positive energy did come in the dressing room because we had a decent total. The ball was swinging a lot and we knew that our bowlers had the ability to trouble England batsmen. This is something you must have seen on last day that Abbas, Naseem and Shaheen all bowled well. 

“I feel that we had prepared well for the full match but unfortunately, we weren’t able to complete the second Test due to rain. The next (third) game is coming up, which will be played in these or similar conditions and I feel we will be well prepared for it,” he added..

He said: “We will make an assessment about the conditions which are expected in the next match and give our views to chief selector and head coach Misbah, who will decide about the best playing XI. I don’t see Amir will be playing last Test match and we aren’t even preparing him for this. He’s done with the red ball format and working hard with white ball cricket so we’ll stick with him with the white ball for now.”

Waqar isn’t completely averse to the solution despite limited knowledge of the pink Dukes ball’s behavior in similar English conditions. “England has had only one pink-ball Test until now, and it’s working on a trial basis even now all over the world. From the games under light so far, it has been advocated that pink-ball cricket can be played. We ourselves played twice in Australia and in the UAE. In England, one game has been played and it was a high-scoring game that saw over 500 runs being scored, seamers picked up wickets and bowled well. 

“Strategies need to be changed and toss becomes important; So lots to consider but I feel its a very good idea and I personally feel that Test cricket can be played in the night time, people will adapt in the same way they adapted and adjusted to ODI and T20 formats. From what I have seen of pink ball cricket, I feel it can work, he asserted. 

The bowling coach, however, brushed aside the other idea of using a reserve day in Tests, saying wickets would have seen enough wear and tear across five days to last one more day. “Six days will become too much even for the pitch. When you play five days, there’s a lot of wear and tear already. You must’ve seen how despite not having a lot of cricket minus the first day, this same pitch started behaving very differently in that small session of play on Day 3. It would be unwise I think to extend it further.” 

The former captain said that the team’s confidence was restored by wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan’s gutsy half-century. “Conditions were very tough. Rizwan played a brave innings coming at number 7 and batting with the tail, he gathered 72 runs. It was a positive and well calculated innings as it’s not easy to bat with the tail. He created some short partnerships and brought Pakistan to such a total that we all started to feel confident that we were in the game.”

Meanwhile, England captain Joe Root has expressed his desire to tour Pakistan saying he would love to tour Pakistan in the coming times if fixtures and schedule permits. “I’d love to go and visit Pakistan. It would be a great opportunity to go and play there personally. Unfortunately, it’s not my decision to make but it looks a wonderful country to go and play cricket in.” 

The prolific batsman went on to say there were nice and flat pitches in Pakistan, which is a nice change to what the side have on their home soil. “You see could see the emotion of everyone back in Pakistan when Test cricket was there at the back end of last year. Also, speaking to a few of the players, how much it meant to them as well and they really appreciated being able to play back in Pakistan too.” 

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