Revenge is a dish best served hot
Pakistan embark on their busiest period of international cricket for several years. This is a relief for Pakistan cricket fans who have been deprived of seeing their team play regularly and further deprived of a team that is able to develop. It will be a tough antipodean summer of cricket for Pakistan, who traditionally struggle on these tours -- and that's with a settled and confident team.
As ever, the current squad has potential but this one looks light in the fast bowling department. Provided the first rank of bowlers stay fit, Pakistan should dominate the one-day series in UAE. The dormant tracks will ease the pressure on Pakistan's brittle batting order, which accomodates a curious return for Imran Farhat. It seems the Pakistan selectors are never sure who their best batsmen are. The omissions of Fawad Alam and Imran Nazir are baffling.
On a brighter note, Younis Khan has made an expected return to the captaincy after his recent show of brinkmanship. Younis must now avoid future distractions and focus on building a team that can seriously challenge for the 2011 World Cup and become a force in Test cricket. He has been promised a two-year window to forge his team. That is time enough as the next 12 months will be a serious test of his vision, strategy, decision-making, and strength of character.
Pakistan's reinforced captain has stated that the upcoming series is not about revenge for the Champions Trophy, but the heat of the UAE will be Pakistan's closest stab at home advantage over the next months against a team that they can beat. A false start here will be an ominous omen for the challenges to come. Pakistan need a strong start to their international labours, and if revenge is a motivation then so be it.
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here