Lack of experienced players makes for challenging England tour: Bari
Former Pakistan Test captain and chief selector Wasim Bari reckons the national team's tour to England will be a challenging one since the teams lacks in experience and adjusting to conditions will be tough for the youngsters.
Terming the tour as a short one, Wasim told Dawn that there should've been at least three Tests against England and since there are only two Tests, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should have tried for five One-day Internationals as well.
"Fixing the schedule of a series intelligently is a big art as the host cricket board watches its commercial interest first, while putting the cricket on back burner," he said. "The ECB has given a full tour to India [after the Pakistan series], just for its commercial interest.
"However the two Tests provide an opportunity for our young players to get their name on the honours' list at Lord's by scoring a century or taking five wickets."
Bari said the retirements of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan mean Pakistan has a "fragile" batting line up. "We don't have old, experienced heads to steady the ship," he said.
The former wicket-keeper questioned the team selection which has seen four openers being picked.
"We're playing only three Tests overall [in the United Kingdom] so that doesn't make sense because we can't be chopping and changing in every match," he said.
Pakistan's first Test of the tour will be against Ireland next Friday before matches against England at Lord's and Headingley. Pakistan also play two Twenty20 Internationals against Scotland in Edinburgh next month.
He said not taking a reserve wicket-keeper as back-up for captain Sarfraz Ahmed was fine since there was a concept in the team management that it might "bring the Pakistan skipper under pressure".
While Pakistan are in the UK for 50 days, Bari feels that the only way Pakistan can get acclimatized to local conditions is through tour matches.
Bari advised Pakistan bowlers to keep their line and length and avoid bowling short as the pitches won't be fast.
"You have to bowl up so that the ball swings," he remarked. "If you send down short deliveries you will be taken to task as the pitches are slow in the first part of the season. The batsmen will have to play the ball from near to their bodies instead of away.
"And as the weather will be cool, the slip fielders should be agile as catches could be dropped," he feared.
To a question that a good number of Twenty20 players were included in the Pakistan team, Bari said it isn't easy for players of the game's shortest format to adjust.
"It's a different ball-game altogether," he said. "Thanks to the Pakistan Super League (PSL), our players are getting good competitive cricket but it's only T20 players. Unfortunately we aren't producing first-class players. The only T20 player who I've seen excel in Tests is [Australian opener] David Warner so that's a difficult transition for players to make."