Pakistan Cricket News: Pakistan’s tour of England in focus

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Pakistan Cricket News: Pakistan’s tour of England in focus
The Pakistan Cricket Team kicked off its summer assignment in England on a winning note. The green shirts, with an overall lead of 187 runs, are in a dominating position against Kent in a 3-day practice match in Canterbury. Pakistan's teenage pace sensation Mohammad Aamer led the bowling attack from the front, bagging 5 wickets for 54 runs. In a practice T20 against the MCC XI on Sunday, the former World T20 Champions defeated the hosts in a close match with six runs.

Earlier on Saturday, the Pakistan cricket team left for London from Colombo to play against the two cricketing giants in world cricket; Australia and England.. Before leaving for London, captain of Pakistan side, Shahid Afridi asked his men to put some extra effort during the extended tour of England. The three month tour will end on 22nd September.

“It's a challenging tour because we will face Australia and England”, said Afridi while talking to media persons before the departure. “I have told every player to give extra effort and take every opportunity that comes our way because both rivals are strong”.

After a series of warm-up matches, Pakistan will take to the field against Ricky Ponting’s men in two T20 internationals on July 5 and 6 in Birmingham. The first Test between the two teams will be played at Lord's from July 13-18.

Afridi who was given the captaincy last month following Pakistan's devastating tour of Australia said that the tour will be a test of nerves and coping with the stress will be very important. He said that Australia is a great team but Pakistan can beat them if they fight it out till the last delivery.

Afridi, who chalked two centuries against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the recently concluded Asia Cup 2010, said that he was quite happy with the performance of his team in the continental event despite their close defeats against Sri Lanka and India.

He said, “I am satisfied with team's performance because we fought hard in both the matches and showed that if we put extra effort we can beat the best sides”.

Former cricketers have thrown some harsh criticism at Misbah-ul-Haq’s exclusion. The player failed to get a place in the squad for the England tour. The cricketer has shown his disappointment at the ignorant attitude of the Pakistan Cricket Board. He described his anger by “wanting to burn his cricket equipment in anger”.

Misbah-ul-Haq was not amongst those players who were banned by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in the outcome of the winless tour of Australia earlier this year.

He complained that the board is showing a biased attitude as his statistics were much better than some of the players who were picked for the exhaustive tour of England.

Misbah said, “My Test average is 33, one-day is 39 and Test average is at 36, and if you compare it with other players it is better than many, so it makes you think what’s wrong with you”.

On the other hand, former captain Muhammad Yousuf has shown his intentions to feature in Pakistan’s domestic cricket tournaments. He said that his purpose to restart domestic cricket was to guide young cricketers in the country.

“I will be glad to train young cricketers”, said Yousuf while talking to the media reporters at Lahore airport.

Pakistan had a disastrous tour of Australia under Yousuf’s captaincy earlier this year. As a consequence, seven players were penalized by the PCB, holding them responsible for the defeats.  Former captains Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan were banned indefinitely from playing international cricket for Pakistan. To protest this announcement, Yousuf retired from international cricket and did not take back the decision despite the board leaving the door open for his comeback. In a twist of fate, Yousuf has given a green signal regarding October’s tour of United Arab Emirates and is looking forward to the domestic cricket season to get back into the groove.

Despite all these off-field issues, Pakistan has started their England tour on a winning note with a defeat to an MCC XI. Earlier, the performance of Afridi’s men was remarkable in the last game of the Asia Cup 2010 against Bangladesh. It was a record making victory, where the men in green chalked some individual as well as team records. If injuries stay aloof, team Pakistan is expected to perform well in England.



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