24th May: Mumbai Indians v R. Royals, 14:30 GMT
24th-28th May: 2nd Test, Headingley
Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi hopes that supporters will turn out in their numbers when they take on Australia in a two-Test series, just as they did when he played a starring role during his side's victory in the 2009 ICC World Twenty20.
The two Twenty20 Internationals at Edgbaston were dominated both by Pakistan on the field, and the colour and noise of Pakistan fans in the crowd and Afridi would like more of the same during the Tests at Lord's and at Headingley.
"There is no substitute for playing games at home, but that’s not possible at the moment, so we have to rely on the support of our people living in England. I hope they come and support us like they did in the ICC World Twenty20 last year. That was overwhelming," Afridi said in an interview for the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Match Programme ahead of the series.
"We’re becoming more used to it (playing abroad). In a way it will be strange, but if Pakistani people come in big numbers, it won’t be so strange," he added.
Afridi, who has not picked up a bat or bowled a ball in a Test match for four years, enjoys playing in England - Pakistan's latest 'home from home' having played Australia in the United Arab Emirates last year.
"I’ve always liked England," he said. "The conditions here are very challenging and test your qualities. The crowd’s support is always decent; they know the game and how to appreciate a good shot, a good ball and good fielding. It’s a lovely place to play."
And Afridi painted an encouraging picture of the Pakistan squad united in purpose and ready for what lay ahead - taking on the Australians at Lord's, where last year's loss to England aside, they hold a fine record and at Headingley, where they routed England on year ago to take their only win of the Ashes series.
"I know my job, the coach knows his and the players know theirs. We’ll put up a combined effort to lift the team. It is absolutely vital for Pakistan cricket that we do that. My role, together with our other senior figures, is to help guide the new players."
The first Test at Lord's gets underway on 13th July and the two sides meet against at Headingley from 21st July. Pakistan then begin a four-match series against England on 29th July at Trent Bridge.
To celebrate the start of the MCC Spirit of Cricket Series this week between Pakistan and Australia, Yorkshire CCC have introduced a special offer for Groups coming to the Test Match at Headingley Carnegie. Any group which buys 4 tickets for any single day of the Test Match will get a 5th ticket free of charge.
This offer is only available until Monday 19th July so buy and avoid the queues to buy tickets on match days.
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