Age of Khan February 22, 2009

Sri Lanka win Pakistan's lottery

The Pakistan Cricket Board has introduced a daily lottery to attract spectators

The Pakistan Cricket Board has introduced a daily lottery to attract spectators. The next marketing strategy might be to pay people to attend? If that didn't work, the PCB would have to admit it has a team that nobody wants to watch. The best marketing strategy, without doubt, is to have a successful and exciting cricket team. Younis Khan's new team may be some way from either of those labels but this is just the beginning.

Karachi's pitch has been easy paced and the bounce has been friendly, a graveyard for most bowlers, not just Pakistan's assortment of characters with something to prove. It is a pitch that allows a bowler of high pace or sharp turn to make a genuine difference. Pakistan have neither of world class in this match.

Yet it is tough to return to Test cricket after 14 months, and some of the disciplines will take a while to return. Add that to the excellence of Sri Lanka's batting, and you can see why the lottery of choosing an inexperienced attack might fail.

The real test of Younis Khan's team will come when they face Murali and Mendis. A huge total will offer Sri Lanka's world class bowlers the freedom to attack, while creating immense pressure for Pakistan's untried batting line-up. Indeed, Shoaib Malik and Danish Kaneria have shown that the pitch will become increasingly receptive to good spin bowling.

There can be few bigger challenges in international cricket - even for a team with a new found solidarity forged in an isolation camp. The Age of Khan begins with a monumental struggle.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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