ICL: Indian Cricket League

Sultry English summer bothering Pakistan players


When they left home earlier this summer to play almost two-and-a-half months of cricket in England, the Pakistan cricketers had hoped that they had left hot and humid weather behind.

But it seems that sultry conditions have chased them to England, a country that normally enjoys pleasant summers that borders on to mild winter for an average Pakistani used to high temperatures for the best part of the year.

However, this summer is different. With mercury soaring to 36 degrees centigrade and humidity also quite high, it seems like a July in Karachi rather than in London.

After an outing at sun-baked Lord’s Pakistan are now not looking forward to a four-day game against Northamptonshire in hot conditions.

Team manager Zaheer Abbas said that he was not surprised when half a dozen of Pakistan players requested to be rested for the match in Northampton that gets underway from today (Thursday). “It is very hot and you don’t really enjoy playing in these conditions,” Zaheer told ‘The News’ on Wednesday. “Some of the players had a tough time at Lord’s and want to rest for a few days before the next Test,” he added.

On the top of the list of players asking for rest are all-rounder Abdul Razzaq and skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq. Fast bowlers Mohammad Sami and Umar Gul might not play the side game.

After sending down 82 overs at Lord’s in a few marathon spells, leg-spinner Danish Kaneria is also set get some much-deserved rest.

Interestingly, Mohammad Yousuf, who had a long stay at the wicket in Pakistan’s first innings in the opening Test is all geared up for another outing. He scored 202 and 48 to save the match for Pakistan. “Yousuf has told us that he has no problems in playing in the four-day match.”

Zaheer has been advising the team management including skipper Inzamam to make changes in the Pakistan team according to the prevailing weather. “It’s hot and dry and in such conditions you should play more spinners. The wickets would turn quite a bit and conditions would suit slow bowlers more than pacers. In any case we don’t have many wicket-taking fast bowlers so we should better look for more spin options.”

Zaheer said he would vote for the inclusion of leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed and would also suggest the team management have a look at Arshad Khan, the tall off-spinner who is playing league cricket in England.

Arshad, 35, has just played nine Tests since making his debut against the West Indies at home town Peshawar in 1997. He has 32 Test wickets and last played a Test for Pakistan in 2005 against India at Bangalore.

Zaheer added that the addition of a off-spinner would add to Pakistan’s bowling strength which currently doesn’t look good enough to bowl England twice out in a Test. “Danish is bowling pretty well but as far as I am concerned Shahid Afridi is more of a stock bowler. What we need is another specialist spinner so we can attack from both ends.”

With the sun shining, Zaheer wants Pakistan to exploit hot and dry conditions to their advantage. And as far as he is concerned a spin-oriented attack is what the tourists need.
Source:The News

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