Pakistan keen to move on from 'push-up' celebrations as preparations continue for Old Trafford Test
The unique push-up celebrations and the military salute that the Pakistan team adopted to celebrate victory in the opening Test match against England at Lord’s on Sunday will go down in history as one of the most remarkable scenes of expressions of joy on a cricket field and is sure to remain in the memory of all cricket fans for quite a long time.
However, Pakistan's fielding coach Steve Rixon said that it was time for the Pakistan team to look ahead and intensify their preparations for the Old Trafford Test which begins on Friday.
While the celebrations, first showcased by skipper Misbah-ul-Haq after scoring a century in the first innings in what his first ever appearance at Lord’s and later by the entire team after completing their 75-run victory to take a 1-0 lead in the four-match series, was greeted with warm applause by the Lord’s faithful. a couple of English players – skipper Alastair Cook and Tim Bresnan – had expressed their disapproval at the way the visitors chose to express their winning moment.
Rixon, however, supported Misbah over the celebrations stating that it was a spontaneous decision taken at the time as a tribute to the Pakistan army with whom the cricket team had engaged in a boot camp before departing on their tour of England.
"It's done and dusted, and we move on. It's something you see in all sports ... a one-off thing. It probably won't be seen again," he said. "It was something that was initiated through the captain -- he made a little pledge to himself. We didn't know it was coming. It was spontaneous."
Rixon feels the Lord’s victory has given the Pakistan team a much-needed boost of confidence as well as help the team bond better as a unit.
"The spirit is very high, and belief is high," Rixon explained. "(The win at Lord's) was the reward for a lot of hard work -- the boot camp back in Pakistan, and a lot of hard work in (two weeks' additional training in) Hampshire.”
With the Old Trafford pitch expected to provide more assistance to the bowlers owing to extra pace and bounce, Rixon is hopeful that the Pakistani bowling attack, including leg-spinner Yasir Shah, whose 10-wicket haul in the first Test earned him the Man of the Match award, will exploit the conditions much better in their favour than the hosts.
"I think our seamers will do very well here, with the extra bounce," he said. "Generally speaking, Yasir will have a major effect in any game of cricket. It doesn't have to turn a lot for him to have an impact.
"When you have magnificent control, you are in the game, and there are very few who have had that. Shane Warne is one, and Yasir is rightfully sitting at the top of the tree for that reason,” Rixon added.
With England recalling James Anderson and Ben Stokes for the second Test, Rixon admits that England will be roaring to make a comeback in the series and expects the match to be the most closely-fought one in the series.
"We are very happy with what's been happening so far," said Rixon. "Jimmy Anderson is a great bowler. So is Ben Stokes. They are two very fine cricketers (and) ... will add to the England attack and overall composition of the side. We are expecting as hard a game as we'll get in the series right here," Rixon said.