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Pakistan seek Test Revival (Pakistan vs Zimbabwe 1st Test)

Posted by on Tuesday, September 3, 2013, 11:01
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Pakistan were on a high after securing a Test series whitewash against the then top ranked England side 18 months ago in the UAE.

Pakistan vs Zimbabwe

Pakistan vs Zimbabwe

However, back-to-back losses in the following rubbers have pushed Misbahul Haq’s men on the back-foot in the longer version as they seek to regain winning ways in Zimbabwe.

The first Test starts today in Harare. The Pakistan captain is hoping to bounce back from a 3-0 series upset at the hands of the Proteas in South Africa at the start of the year. Before the humiliating defeat, they lost 1-0 while touring Sri Lanka last year.

The last time when Pakistan toured Zimbabwe in 2011, they defeated the home team 3-0 in the Test series, and Misbah seemed upbeat about his team’s prospects in this run too.

“Our Test side is well settled,” said the captain ahead of the first game.

“Yes, the last series was a difficult one as we faced tough conditions in South Africa. But, I am hopeful our Test batting line-up will perform well this time.”

If the visitors triumph, it will also be a respite for Pakistan’s head coach Dav Whatmore, under whom the team lost both the previous series.

It has made the coach determined to pull out all stops for his team’s success in the Test format.

“Winning Tests is vital since it’s an important format,” stated Whatmore. “This series is crucial because of the start of the International Cricket Council Test Championship, and we will put in all our efforts to win.”

The Pakistan Test squad will show a different structure, with former captain Younus Khan, Azhar Ali and Adnan Akmal making returns.

Khurram Manzoor is also likely to make a comeback after three years, while other team players include Wahab Riaz, Faisal Iqbal, and Rahat Ali.

Zimbabwe’s turmoil continues

Zimbabwe’s squad was not announced until yesterday afternoon, as the series remained in doubt due to threats of a boycott from the Zimbabwe players’ union over non-payment of salaries.

Home team coach Andy Waller feared that the issue may affect the morale of his players, even if the series are played.

Waller also raised concerns over the absence of key-bowler Kyle Jarvis, who retired before the Pakistan series, and spinner Graeme Cremer.

“The main concern I have is the bowling side,” said Waller.

Afridi, Anwar return

All-rounder Shahid Afridi and fast-bowler Anwar Ali returned after featuring in the Twenty20 and One-Day International (ODI) series against Zimbabwe.

While Afridi decided against speaking to the media, Anwar termed his experience beneficial.

“I didn’t get chance a chance to play in the ODIs, but the experience of playing the Twenty20 matches was useful,” the fast-bowler told reporters at the Karachi airport.

“I have gained confidence and look forward to getting a chance to play in the South Africa tour.”

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