Pakistan team leaves for England from Colombo

Karachi: Low on morale after their poor show in the just-concluded Asia Cup, Pakistan cricket squad left on Saturday for England from Colombo with manager Yawar Saeed conceding that his team would be the underdogs on the tour.

“We go as the underdogs in the series against Australia and England but that does not mean we cannot do well on the tour,” Yawar said before leaving for England.

Yawar said at times it was good for a team to carry the tag of underdogs.

“It is a challenging tour but nowadays every new tour and series is a challenging one and I am confident we have the players to face up to the challenges in England,” he said.

Pakistan failed to make it to the final of Asia Cup after losing close matches to Sri Lanka and eventual winners India.

The selectors have included several new players including uncapped Tanveer Ahmed, Umar Amin, Azhar Ali, Zulqarnain Haider in the Test squad while ignoring Younus Khan and Faisal Iqbal.

Captain Shahid Afridi told Geo TV that he expected the tour to be a tough baptism for the new players and a stiff test for the experienced ones.

“Australia and England are two very good sides and it is important we make a good start to the tour and maintain our tempo throughout the three and half months we are in England. On such long tours at times players tend to lose motivation and form and it is important we remain focused,” Afridi said.

“Obviously we will miss seasoned players like Mohd Yousuf and Younus Khan in England but for the new players we have picked this is their opportunity to show they have talent,” he added.

Pakistan open the tour with a limited-overs match against MCC on June 28 before they face off Australia in two Twenty20 Internationals on June 5 and 6 in Birmingham.

They play Australia in two Tests – at Lord’s (July 13-17) and Headingley (July 21-25) – in a series moved out of Pakistan after Australia refused to tour over security fears.

Pakistan then take on England in a four-match Test series spread over July 29 to August 30, followed by two Twenty20 Internationals on September 5 and 7 and five ODIs on September 10, 12, 17, 20 and 22.

Afridi said at the moment he had told the team to focus on the Twenty20 Internationals.

“The Test matches will come later and the biggest challenge for us would be to adjust back to the five-day format. Our players need to put in extra effort for this.

“We played well in T20 World Cup and Asia Cup and I am satisfied with efforts of everyone. If we continue in same vein I am sure sooner or later one win will change our attitude and we can beat anyone on our day.”



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