Pakistan bat against England in first Test

England players walk onto the pitch on the first day of the first Test cricket match between England and Pakistan at Old Trafford in Manchester, northwest England on August 5, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 05 August 2020

Pakistan bat against England in first Test

  • This is the first of a three-match series 
  • Pakistan opted for a balance of three seamers and two spinners in their attack 

MANCHESTER, United Kingdom: Pakistan captain Azhar Ali won the toss and elected to bat in the first Test against England at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
Although the Manchester skies were overcast, Azhar told Sky Sports: “Obviously the overhead conditions will help the bowlers but we were very clear in our heads that we want to bat first.
“Because of the composition of the team, we wanted an all-rounder which also means we’ll have two leg-spinners.
“Coming to England will always be a challenge but we are up for it and want to make sure we go positively, start well and take it on from there.
“It’s great to be back playing cricket and that people can watch at home during these tough times.”
England were unchanged from the side that won the third Test against the West Indies by 269 runs to complete a 2-1 series victory in a campaign that marked international cricket’s return from the coronavirus lockdown.
By sticking with the same side England again opted to play four specialist seamers with fitness doubts over Ben Stokes, who didn’t bowl in the West Indies finale because of a quad injury, again effectively playing as a specialist batsman.
“We’re looking to make the most of the overhead conditions, even though we would have batted first too,” said England captain Joe Root.
“Ben is still not 100 percent fit to bowl and his batting is so valuable to us, and there’s so much cricket left to play this summer, we didn’t want to take the risk.”
England have lost the first match in each of their last five Test series and Root said: “We want to get ahead of the game early and drive it from there.”
Pakistan opted for a balance of three seamers and two spinners in their attack with leg-break bowlers Shadab Khan and Yasir Shah both included in a match that marks their first Test since February when a series against Bangladesh was cut short by COVID-19.
A talented Pakistan pace line-up featured the accurate Mohammad Abbas, teenage rising star Naseem Shah and left-armer Shaheen Afridi.
This is the first of a three-match series.
Pakistan have not lost a Test series against England since 2010, and have drawn their last two in England.

England: Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Joe Root (capt), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wkt), Chris Woakes, Dom Bess, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, James Anderson

Pakistan: Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali (capt), Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Rizwan (wkt), Yasir Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah.


Pakistan to establish 18 markets on Afghanistan, Iran borders to boost trade, curb smuggling

Updated 18 September 2020

Pakistan to establish 18 markets on Afghanistan, Iran borders to boost trade, curb smuggling

  • Under the plan, the government will set up 12 markets along the border with Afghanistan and six along the Iran frontier
  • Prime minister approves setting up two border markets in Balochistan and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by February next year

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan government has decided to set up markets along its borders with neighboring Afghanistan and Iran to boost trade opportunities, foster peace and check smuggling, the commerce ministry said on Friday.
Main crossing point into Pakistan for both goods and people from Iran and Afghan also serve as major smuggling routes.
“The border markets will help create job opportunities and establish a peaceful relationship with the neighboring countries,” Aisha Humera Moriani, joint-secretary at the Ministry of Commerce, told Arab News.
Under the plan, the government is establishing 18 markets: 12 along the border with Afghanistan and six along the Iran frontier.
In a meeting on Thursday, Prime Minister Imran Khan approved setting up two border markets in Balochistan and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province as a pilot project, to be functional by February next year.
Moriani said the markets would contribute to local development and help the government address “smuggling and boost legal trade across the border.”
Pakistan is fencing its borders with Afghanistan and Iran to check cross-border militancy, illegal movement of people and smuggling, which is a major source of income for people living along border towns and villages.
Sardar Shoukat Popalzai, President Balochistan Economic Forum, said the government should have built “common markets” along the Afghanistan and Iran borders with the mutual consent of the neighboring governments to maximize benefits for people on both sides of the borders.
“The government has not released a feasibility report, if there is any, of these markets as to how are they going to help the local population,” he told Arab News.
Popalzai said Balochistan border areas were sparsely populated and establishment of a few shopping terminals would “hardly make any difference in the lives of the people.”
He said cross-border smuggling was a major source of income for people living in the frontier areas of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, so “this requires a lot more effort than mere setting up of markets to check this undocumented economy.”
Zubair Motiwala, chairman of the Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the government should establish cold storages and warehouses in the border markets to boost the export of perishable and other items to the neighboring countries.
“The taxation system on the exports and imports of different items through the land routes should be well defined to encourage businessmen and locals to boost the legal trade with Afghanistan and Iran,” he said.