Pakistan backed to give legends a winning send-off
It's not so long ago that Pakistan were the No.1-ranked Test team in the world. They've slipped from those heights in recent times, but they've got a chance to return to winning ways - and give a fitting send-off to two of their greatest players of all time - when the first Test against West Indies gets underway in Jamaica on Friday.
Pakistan are 1/3 favourites to emerge victorious in the three-match series, with the hosts a rather more distant 13/2. And though Pakistan are traditionally hard to predict, the impending retirements of Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq will give them an extra incentive to hit the ground running.
The Man of the Match stakes are a revealing insight into how flimsy West Indies' chances of victory really are. Not one of West Indies' players is rated at better than 20/1 to pick up an award that tends to be given to a player from the winning side.
All of Pakistan's players, by contrast, are 20/1 or better, with the legspinner Yasir Shah the favourite for the award at 11/2. Younis, incidentally, is 15/2 with Misbah slightly behind him at 12/1.
Younis and Azhar Ali share top billing to be the leading run-scorers, at 3/1, with Yasir 5/2 to rattle through a brittle West Indies batting line-up that is lacking so many of its stars due to IPL duties and disputes with the board.
The opener Kraigg Brathwaite, whose attritional technique has attracted criticism in one-day cricket, is 10/3 to be West Indies' leading run-scorer at Sabina Park. Devendra Bishoo is the same odds to lead the line for the hosts' bowling. Legspin is likely to be very much to the fore in the coming days.