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by Manuj Sharma Thursday 18 August 2016
Pakistan opening batsman Taufeeq Umar is impressed by the performance of Sami Aslam and reckons that the 20-year-old has a bright future ahead of him.
Pakistan opted to include Sami Aslam in the third and fourth Test matches against England and the youngster responded with two fluent fifties at Edgbaston.
However, Aslam failed to get off the blocks in the first innings of the fourth Test and Umar feels that this was due to England doing their homework against the left-hander.
Nevertheless, Umar is backing Aslam and is confident that with good performances, the former Pakistan Under-19 skipper can become a long term prospect for the national team.
“Sami Aslam has had a wonderful re-introduction to Test cricket with two magnificent innings at Edgbaston played under immense pressure,” Umar told PakPassion.net.
“However, I also know that England may have been surprised by Sami’s performance in the third Test and would have gone away and done their analysis to work him out.
“This is something we saw in the first innings of the fourth Test match and now the challenge is for Sami to concentrate harder to ensure he comes out on top against other oppositions in the future.
“If he continues to perform well then it would go a long way to solve Pakistan’s opening conundrum.
“I believe he has a very bright future ahead of him.”
Though Pakistan managed to draw the Test series against England with a splendid win in the fourth game, the tour exposed their problems with the opening slot.
Pakistan’s highest opening partnership in the four-match series was between Sami Aslam and Azhar Ali in the fourth innings of the fourth Test at The Oval.
Admitting that conditions in England are always tough for opening batsmen, Umar reasoned that Pakistan did not pick the right players for the tour.
“In my view, conditions in England are always very tough for openers to come to terms with.
“This should not be a surprise to anyone.
“To counter this challenge, a player needs to have sound technique and if there were problems in this regard, they should have been fixed before embarking on this tour.
“I am afraid, it’s here that Pakistan’s preparations did not go according to plan.”
Another setback for Pakistan was the form of Mohammad Hafeez, who scored 102 runs at 17.00 from the first three games before being dropped for the final Test.
Despite the lack of runs from Hafeez’s bat, Umar said that it was just a temporary dip in form and added that one good knock will give him the confidence required to bounce back.
“I watched Hafeez’s progress during the Test series and my view is that he was suffering from a temporary dip in form.
“What he needed was one good innings to get back in to rhythm and regain his confidence.
“Unfortunately, he was unable to get his form back in the three Test matches he played and consequently found himself dropped for the fourth Test.
“I will, however, say that it is down to each batsman to try and iron out any flaws in his technique before coming to a tour of such importance.
“The homework needed to succeed at this level needs to be done beforehand, as each batsman is aware of the types of conditions he will face when he comes to England.”
Given the lack of consistency from the Pakistan openers, an in-form Umar can offer the batting line up the stability and the experience it needs at the top.
However, having played the last of his 44 Test matches in 2014, Umar knows that the only way to come back into the side will be through good performance at the domestic level.
“I have been playing First-Class cricket for my domestic team, SNGPL, and hope to put in my best efforts in the upcoming season as well.
“My aim is to perform well and give myself the best chance to make a comeback to the national team.”
After the completion of the limited overs leg of their ongoing tour of England, Pakistan will embark on a tour of New Zealand and Australia between November and January 2017.
© Cricket World 2016