England v Pakistan - Lord's Test Preview

England v Pakistan - First Test - Lords
England v Pakistan - First Test - Lords
©Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic.
 

Despite ICC switching its head offices to Dubai in 2005, Lord’s to many Pakistanis, shall remain the ‘Home of Cricket’. After its tentative start in an extremely wet summer of 1954, in the recent past, it has recorded some memorable wins at the ground.

The 2018 Pakistan team has every reason to look forward to the Lord’s Test match. Buoyant after their victory against Ireland at Dublin, last week, it is set to play an unchanged XI., although it could do, with Hasan Ali replacing, either Rahat Ali or Mohammad Amir. The most positive vibe to emerge from the tourists’ dressing room is to go with five front-line bowlers, thus providing them with an outside chance to upset the odds.

For a number of reasons the spot light shall return on Mohammad Amir, who one feels, has lost the right to be an automatic choice in a Test line-up. The spot-fixing saga that erupted in the 2010 Lord’s Test between the two sides, changed his life. At times he has only looked half the bowler he was. Cobra without a venom. Although he could have done with bit more help in the slips, the control of swing and bounce that made him, the most exciting cricketer in world cricket, has simply not been on display, ever since his redemption and return to international arena in January 2016.

The 31-year old Sarfraz Ahmed, having unwisely been burdened with captaincy in all three formats, is clearly struggling to keep up the high standards he set, both as a batsman and wicket-keeper. Azhar Ali, the senior most batsman of the side, unselfishly vacated the one-down position to  take up the challenge to open the batting, had stronger credentials to take over from Misbah-ul-Haq, as the Test match captain.

Pakistan squad: Sarfraz Ahmed(c), Azhar Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Sami Aslam, Haris Sohail, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Saad Ali, Asad Shafiq, Usman Salahuddin, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Abbas , Hasan Ali, Rahat Ali, Faheem Ashraf.

England squad: Joe Root (captain), Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow (wkt), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Dom Bess, Mark Wood, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Chris Woakes.

© Cricket World