ICL: Indian Cricket League

Taufeeq set to play against Northamptonshire



Opening batsman Taufeeq Umar arrived here on Monday as a replacement for the injured Shoaib Malik and got to work straight away as he is expected to open for Pakistan in a side game against Northamptonshire later this week.

A source in the Pakistan team told this correspondent on Monday that Taufeeq is certain to play in the four-day game in Northampton after the failure of Pakistani openers to score big at Lord’s.

Openers Salman Butt and Imran Farhat got out in both innings of the opening Test playing irresponsible shots and that fact has not gone down well with the Pakistan team’s think tank. In normal circumstances, the bad outings from the openers would have forced a change in the team right away but these are not normal circumstances for Pakistan. Already short of good, reliable opening batsmen, Pakistan suffered a blow when the talented Shoaib Malik was ruled out of the entire four-match Test series because of an elbow problem.

Pakistan came to England with three batsmen who could open and Shoaib (Malik) was one of them. The Pakistani management was hoping that either Salman or Imran or both would deliver at Lord’s where the conditions were perfect for batting. Four of the England batsmen scored tons in the Test while Mohammad Yousuf recorded a magnificent hundred but the highest knock by a Pakistan opener was a 33 from Imran.

Shoaib’s injury and the unimpressive display from Salman and Imran forced the team management to ask for Taufeeq, one of the players kept as reserves for the England tour by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). He flew into London along with medium pacer Rao Iftikhar Anjum, who is here to replace the injured Mohammad Asif in the 15-man Pakistan squad.

A solid batsman, Taufeeq has scored 1711 runs from 24 Tests at an average of 40.73 and has scored four tons. But the problem is that he hasn’t played for Pakistan for almost 16 months. His last Test was against India at Kolkata last March when he scored 18 and 35 in a 195-run defeat of Pakistan.

Taufeeq, 25, however will get a good chance to secure his Pakistan comeback if he plays in the match against Northamptonshire from July 20-23. A good showing from him in the match, would certainly get him a spot on the Pakistani playing eleven for the Old Trafford Test.
Source:The News

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