The captain of the Pakistani team, Babar Azam, has promised that his squad will strive to earn a spot in the final of the World Test championship by claiming victory over England in the series that will begin on Thursday in Rawalpindi.
Pakistan is now ranked fifth in the nine-team World Test Championship (WTC), and they will have a chance to compete in the final at The Oval in England in 2019 if they are successful in claiming a 2-0 victory over the three-match series. After that, in the following month, they will host New Zealand for a two-game series at their stadium.
Babar Azam expressed his excitement over the possibility of playing in the WTC final on Wednesday. “We are pleased about that potential,” he remarked.
“This is an extremely significant series. If we are successful in four of the remaining five tests, we will have an excellent opportunity to accomplish that goal “added Azam, whose team now leads the WTC with 56 points after nine matches.
They now have a record of four wins, three losses, and two draws.
Australia is currently in first place in the table with 84 points, and they are competing against the West Indies in a two-match test series at home.
In its first year of competition, the WTC, New Zealand triumphed over India to take first place.
Pakistan has performed admirably in white-ball cricket under Azam’s leadership, reaching the finals of both the Asia Cup and the Twenty20 World Cup this year.
According to Babar Azam, his team has done a good job preparing for the series.
“We had about a week to prepare for the series, which was fantastic and has provided us with an advantage as well as momentum. The best part was that domestic first class matches were taking place at the time, which meant that some of the players had already practised playing red ball cricket.”
Azam refused to acknowledge that Pakistan is lacking expertise in bowling, despite the fact that Pakistan is without its speed spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi due to a knee injury.
Azam guaranteed that their bowling attack would give England a difficult time and that it was good.
“Naseem (Shah) has been bowling well, and whatever England have been doing, I have that confidence and that conviction that they would try their best to give us wins,” Shah said.
Naseem is the only fast bowler in the squad who has experience playing Test cricket (13 Tests), whereas the other three pacemen, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim, and Mohammad Ali, have never been capped in the longer format.
However, he did concede that England had greater experience in the bowling department.
“Yes, England have that edge in fast bowling because they have James Anderson who is very experienced and give them edge in that department,” said Azam of the England spearhead who has taken 667 wickets in 175 Tests. Anderson is credited with giving England an advantage in the fast bowling department.
A virus had spread through England’s camp, and 13 to 14 members of the team, including six to seven players, had fallen ill as a result. Azam anticipated that England would soon be at their full strength.
“Yes, hearing that is disheartening, but I am confident that they will get well, and we will compete against a fully healthy England team in the test.”