Sarfraz Ahmed calls on Pakistan batsmen to turn up for second Test against New Zealand in Dubai

Updated 23 November 2018

Sarfraz Ahmed calls on Pakistan batsmen to turn up for second Test against New Zealand in Dubai

  • Pakistan captain tells brittle batting line-up they have to show backbone against the Black Caps.
  • Kiwis one up in three-match series having won in Abu Dhabi.

DUBAI: Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed urged his faltering batsmen to play long innings to help their team bounce back in the second Test against New Zealand starting in Dubai on Saturday.

Since the retirement of two senior established batsmen Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq last year, Pakistan have been struggling to post big totals, especially in the run chase.

In the first test, they made heavy weather of a modest 176-run target, collapsing from 130 for three to 171 all out as New Zealand pulled off a sensational four-run win in Abu Dhabi.

Sarfraz says that Pakistan have left that defeat behind but recognise the shortcomings of their batting.

"What mistakes we committed we have left them in Abu Dhabi," said Sarfraz on Friday.

"If you analyse our last eight Tests or so, our batsmen get out without playing long innings so we have spoken to them about that."

Since the Younis-Misbah era Pakistan batsmen have scored only three hundreds in eight Tests, one each by Asad Shafiq (versus Sri Lanka in Dubai last year), Mohammad Hafeez and Haris Sohail (against Australia in Dubai last month).

In that period Pakistan's Azhar Ali and Shafiq, who are now the senior batsmen, have been well below their best. Azhar has managed just 422 runs with no hundreds and Shafiq 590 with one hundred — a far cry from what Pakistan needed.

Sarfraz said Pakistan badly need a win in the second Test.

"This is an important Test for us so we should play good cricket and we realise how important it is to bounce back and then go on to win the series," said Sarfraz.

Pakistan have called up lanky teenage paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi — who took seven wickets against England Lions in the four-day game in Abu Dhabi this week — but his chance of making a debut in Dubai are slim.

New Zealand are mulling the option of including a third spinner in uncapped off-spinner Will Somerville. The last time they played three spinners in a Test was against India in Kanpur two years ago.

New Zealand batsman Henry Nicholls said his team are more confident after the win.

"Obviously, it was an ideal start for us to win the first Test and we have the belief heading into the second Test," said Nicholls who made a fighting 55 in New Zealand's second innings in Abu Dhabi.

"We bounced back after not an ideal start and found ways in conditions that are foreign to us, so it was nice and has given us confidence heading into the second Test."

"Pakistan will definitely look to bounce back so it's for us to improve and to assess quickly and adjust at a different ground and different wicket," said Nicholls.


Test cricket to return to Pakistan with Sri Lanka’s visit

Updated 14 November 2019

Test cricket to return to Pakistan with Sri Lanka’s visit

  • Sri Lanka will play a two-match series at Rawalpindi and Karachi next month
  • The series is part of ICC’s World Test Championship

ISLAMABAD: Test cricket is set to return to Pakistan after more than 10 years when Sri Lanka plays a two-match series at Rawalpindi and Karachi next month.
Sri Lanka was the last team to play a test match in Pakistan in March 2009, when the team’s bus came under attack at Lahore. Eight people were killed during the terror attack, and several Sri Lankan players were injured.
All incoming tours were canceled after the attack and Pakistan later lost its status as a co-host for the 2011 Cricket World Cup.
The Pakistan Cricket Board on Thursday said Sri Lanka Cricket had confirmed next month’s tour would go ahead, based on the successful staging of a series of one-day and Twenty20 internationals at Karachi and Lahore in September and October.
Sri Lanka was originally scheduled to play the test series last month and then return to Pakistan for a limited-overs series in December. However, the tours were swapped so that Sri Lanka officials could assess the security situation in Pakistan before deciding on the test venues.
Rawalpindi is now scheduled to host the first test from Dec. 11-15, and the second test will be played at Karachi from Dec. 19-23. The series is part of ICC’s World Test Championship.
Zakir Khan, the PCB’s director of operations, said that the confirmation of next month’s test matches reflected confidence in Pakistan’s safety situation.
“This series is part of our cricket celebrations and we will leave no stone unturned in putting up a show which is a memorable one for the players, officials, fans and media,” Khan said.
Several top Sri Lanka players withdrew from the limited-overs series in Pakistan because of security concerns. Sri Lanka lost the ODI series 2-0 after the first game was washed out, but it’s second-string team sprung a huge surprise when it swept Pakistan 3-0 in the Twenty20 series at Lahore.
The SLC said it was satisfied with the visit and the high-level security provided for the team.
Sri Lanka Cricket chief executive Ashley de Silva said he believed cricket’s member nations should host their home matches in their own countries.
“We believe all cricket playing countries should host international cricket at home and in this relation we are happy to play our part in complete resumption of international cricket in Pakistan, which not only has a proud history but has been one of our biggest supporters in our early days as a cricket nation,” he said.
“We drew our opening World Test Championship series against New Zealand, and I anticipate, like in the past, these two tests will be exciting and competitive, and the fans will thoroughly enjoy the quality of cricket that will be on display.”
Pakistan has hosted its home games at neutral venues in the United Arab Emirates and in England during the last decade. The Pakistan team will play two test matches in Australia before returning for the series against Sri Lanka.