Bari emphasises pace-dominated squad for England tour

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Wasim_BariPakistan’s cricket selectors would tilt towards pace when selecting the 16-member national team for a challenging tour of England later this summer, chief selector Wasim Bari said.

“You have to have your best fast bowlers for a tour of England,” Bari told ‘The News’ on telephone from Islamabad on the eve of the announcement of a probables’ list for the England-bound squad.

When it comes to pacers while selecting a team to play in England, Bari believes it’s a case of the more the merrier.

“The conditions in England are mostly tailor-made for pacers,” he said, adding that having three spinners in the team is quite enough. “If you see the current team, there is no room for any new spinner anyway,” he pointed out. “Assuming that you already have (Danish) Kaneria, (Shahid) Afridi and Shoaib (Malik) in the team then there is actually no need of any more spinners,” he said.

Bari said Pakistan would be taking a bowling attack to England dominated by pacers.

This means that when the PCB announces a list of around 24 or 25 probables for the England tour today, all of the country’s frontline pace bowlers would be in it.

Shoaib Akhtar has already announced that he is fit and should head the pack of fast bowlers in the list. Muhammad Sami is also in the running to make a comeback in the 16-member squad. Muhammad Asif, with his impressive outings in recent months, is certain to make the line-up. And then there are Rana Naved-ul-Hassan, Umar Gul and Rao Iftikhar Anjum.

Bari revealed that he has already received coach Bob Woolmer’s suggestions on the probables’ list via e-mail. “Woolmer has given us his opinion on the possible line-up,” he said.

The chief selector added that he would talk to Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq today (Wednesday) before finalising the probables’ list. “I and fellow selectors have already made up our mind on the line-up of the players,” he said. “I would now discuss the issue with Inzamam and get his input before finalising the list.”

Bari stated that he would talk to Inzamam over whether to have an extra wicket-keeper in the 16-man squad as well as a third specialist opener for the tour.

“These are the two areas where we need the captain’s input the most,” said Bari.

He underlined that openers have been one of Pakistan’s major concerns. “In England where the cricket ball moves a lot, you should have solid batsmen. And when it comes to openers, reliability is the key. You should have options available when you regular openers fail to do well.”

The fact that the selectors are considering to have more and more reliable batters in the touring side has brightened up the chances of discarded middle-order batsman Asim Kamal’s chances of getting a recall for the English sojourn. “Asim is very much under consideration for the tour of England but just for the Test squad,” confirmed Bari.

The left-handed Asim, who turns 30 on May 31, has been out of the Pakistan team since playing in the Lahore Test against England during last year’s home series. Regarded as a gritty customer, Asim has accumulated 717 runs in 12 Tests.

Source:The News

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