Mohammad Yousuf worried about Pakistan's prospects against England
Former Pakistan cricketer Mohammad Yousuf has expressed his concern regarding the team’s chances against England in the upcoming Test series, NDTV Sports reports. The opposition’s formidable record at home, especially in the longer format of the game as well as Pakistan’s not-so-ideal preparations for the crucial tour are the reasons which have left the 41-year-old worried.
England are currently leading 2-0 against Sri Lanka in a three-match Test series after comfortably winning the opening two matches and are the undoubted favourites against Pakistan as well. Though Yousuf admitted that Pakistan will have their work cut out for them, he expects the Misbah-ul-Haq-led side to fare better than their Asian counterparts.
"It is going to be a tough tour for us and our first priority should be to ensure we don't fold up like Sri Lanka has done in England," he said. “(But) I think Pakistan should do better than Sri Lanka.”
Security concerns have meant that Pakistan has been forced to play their ‘home’ matches in the UAE and Yousuf is worried about the Pakistan batsmen’s ability to adjust to the seaming conditions in England though he expects the senior cricketers to stand up and deliver.
"What worries me is that Pakistan's Test cricket has mainly been restricted to the UAE for the last few years and in England they have a lot at stake to guard their excellent Test record," Yousuf said. “Younis, Misbah, Azhar and Asad Shafiq all have plenty of experience but the key will be how quickly they adjust to the English conditions and pitches."
Pakistan last toured England in 2010 in a tour which is better forgotten from their perspective for more reasons than one. Pakistan cricket’s reputation took a huge hit when the trio of Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were implicated in the spot-fixing scandal while the team suffered a 3-1 reverse in the four-Test series.
Not surprisingly, Yousuf is hopeful that the present team can do much better, this time around, and show themselves as a top side in the longer format of the game.
"The 2010 tour I think was our worst in England for many years and this team will be challenged to ensure they perform better and the tour is not a repetition of 2010," he said. "If Pakistan does well in England it would have shown everyone that it is a top test side."
The PCB announced a 17-man squad for the Test series which includes the likes of Mohammad Amir and Yasir Shah and is expected to leave for the UK on June 18. However, new coach Mickey Arthur is yet to join up with the squad – something which hasn’t escaped Yousuf’s attention.
"The team is due to leave for England in a few days and the new coach is yet to join the players. I don’t think this is ideal preparation for such a big series," a visibly irritated Yousuf said.