2010: Summer of Pakistan July 12, 2010

No limit on spirit

After an appetising pair of Twenty20 matches, a sterner challenge awaits Shahid Afridi's team
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The spirit of cricket is open to interpretation. Idris Baig, the Pakistani umpire, debagged and doused with water by a touring MCC team, might not appreciate the term. The history of Pakistan cricket in England is a catalogue of conflict, right up to the last tour and the abandoned Hair-Inzamam Test match at The Oval. Australia against Pakistan is similarly loaded, with Lillee-Miandad and Malik-Warne evoking painful memories.

Yet the spirit of cricket strikes the right note for this series. The ECB has turned over part of its summer schedule to the irritants from Pakistan. Cricket Australia has crammed another series into a tight international calendar, already saturated with victories over Pakistan. Lord's and the MCC are welcoming Pakistan cricket in its time of crisis. A fresh wind blows optimism into the hearts of Pakistan supporters.

After an appetising pair of Twenty20 matches, a sterner challenge awaits Shahid Afridi's team. Australia will be unforgiving opponents in Test cricket. Ricky Ponting will return to reassert his team's authority, and the trivial matter of consecutive Twenty20 defeats will be enough incentive to prove a point. The spirit of cricket will be put on hold when the Lord's bell tolls on Tuesday morning.

This might not be the formidable Australian team that strutted the international stage for over a decade, and how could it be, without Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath. But it has punished Pakistan on home turf. Incredibly, Pakistan were on the brink of victory and levelling the series in Sydney but calamitous captaincy and worse batting destroyed Pakistan's ambitions.

A new mood, however, grips this Pakistan team. Afridi is an energetic and enthusiastic captain, a diametric opposite to the stand-in Mohammad Yousuf, whose method was ill-suited to Pakistan's firebrand play. The coaching combination of Waqar Younis and Ejaz Ahmed, while lacking experience, looks comfortable with its young charges. Two victories against Australia have added legitimacy to the new management team, and it matters little for Pakistan's psyche that those wins came in Twenty20 internationals.

But Australia are capable of extinguishing every hint of optimism. Michael Hussey was merely stating the obvious when he identified Pakistan's inexperienced batting order as a weakness. To embark on perhaps your most important summer of cricket with a novice middle order smacks of stupidity. Salman Butt and Umar Akmal are the leading lights, a scenario that sends shivers down my spine.

Pakistan needed Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf for this dual challenge. Experience in Test cricket and English conditions are essential requirements for tackling two of the strongest teams in world cricket. While Yousuf looks to have cut himself adrift, Younis's exclusion has now become vindictive. Has a player ever been punished more for putting honour first?

Their replacements will need to become instant heroes. Yasir Hameed is one of many Pakistan batsmen whose careers have been mishandled. A free scoring right-hander, too free in that he is usually the master of his own dismissal, Yasir might have grown into a regular international cricketer. Will his fate be better second time around? Of the rest, Umar Amin is the brightest prospect but Australia know how to ruin fledgling careers.

In short, Pakistan's batting order is deep-filled with inexperience and inability at Test level. Shoaib Malik and Afridi, the two most senior players, have huge question marks against them in this format. Little wonder the selection of this touring side attracted outrage when it was announced. Afridi and Waqar have since done little to hide their concerns about the selection. A learning experience, is how Waqar has chosen to describe it. But so much hinges on the cricketing and commercial success of this summer that Pakistan's batsmen will have to learn fast.

As ever, Pakistan's salvation is in bowling. Mohammad Aamer is a revelation. Mohammad Asif, the last revelation, is back in a favourable environment for his seam bowling. Umar Gul, Twenty20 hero, needs to discover a method that achieves consistent success at Test level. And Danish Kaneria will be the premier spinner on display in the series, but with many points still to prove.

While Australia will respect Pakistan's bowling, they will be far from overawed by it. Indeed, the bowling also boasts a superficiality that will not tolerate poor form or injury.

The beginning of this historic series fills me with anticipation but also some concern. Australia will start strong favourites, and any success for Pakistan will be unexpected. If Afridi's Army do succeed in either match against Australia they will do so by playing with aggression and pride. Pakistan's supporters are aware of the limitations of their team but they are also aware that the only limits on spirit on a cricket field are self imposed.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • adnan on July 13, 2010, 18:15 GMT

    i am a big supporter of pakistan... i think it is time that old guns, yousuf and younis, should give way to young guns to fire... i think the series would be very entertaining with pakistan's pace attack australian batsman will be tested... Good Luck Pakistan

  • ATIF SHEIKH k.s.a on July 13, 2010, 15:32 GMT

    aamir and Umer Akmal they are great just pakistan team need this kind of player's then really pakistan will come no.1 anyhow my best wishese with my great team pakistan love u all guy

  • Zahid on July 13, 2010, 14:00 GMT

    Another test match starts today.. sorry to say, same result coming up after 4 days, an Aussie win.. What is wrong with the pakistani selectors with their choice of top order batsman, One assumes Afridi and the coach decided that, Imran Farhat?? Should he be there? i hope for his teams sakes he does perform. the guy who should be opening or batting at number 3..is in the squad but still not playing, yes, Yasir Hamid, at a time when Pakistan are desperately short of experienced players and they are playing Australia no less.. the fact that Hamid has played them before in Australia, and looked at least semi decent in his performances.. why isnt he playing?? Makes you wonder? Still the losers in the top order who are expected to fail, will fail and this guy won't get a chance even in the second test as the captain has said even failures will get an extended run beforehand. Sorry Pakistan, 2 - 0 to Australia while dodgy players continue to get picked over deserving ones..Just hope im wrong

  • Hasan Siftain Cheema on July 13, 2010, 13:40 GMT

    I wish we (pak) will win this match

  • laieq hashmi on July 13, 2010, 12:20 GMT

    Pakistan record in england against england is good enough pak bowling is outstanding having quality seam of asif reverse swing of gul share pace of ammir and magical leggies of Kaneria but my real concern is Pak weak batting order which always led down them and against Ausies especially absence of Younas and yousaf its realy tough task for Pak to beat AUS if their batsmen manage to score around 300 in each innings then they can give hard time to ausies and series wil be compoetitive

  • Gulab on July 13, 2010, 11:47 GMT

    You are correct, and today looking to the structure of the Pakistani team it seems that it is now capable as Shoaib Malik which is bone of contention is out of the team which is good for the two youngsters Azhar and Amin. They have a chance to permanantly make their place in team. I am with these youngsters.

  • Javaid M. Malik on July 13, 2010, 10:46 GMT

    Our team is in re-building process therefore some players will be un-experienced. But this is a fact that all world great players were also new & un-experienced when they started their test cricket. Umer Akmal is also un-experiencd but now he is one of the talented player of our team. InshaAllah, some of them will also flursh in their effort. Therefore we should be positive about these players. In addition, we should not expect too much at this stage. Each member of the team should give his 100% during these matches. Good Luck TEAM PAKISTAN!

  • AK on July 13, 2010, 10:46 GMT

    "Learning experience". Apparently, the Pakistani cricket is always undergoing spme kind of learning experience. However, eventually the only ones who get to benefit from such "learning experiences" are the opposing sides:)

    Goodluck Afridi and team, however, i am afraid that this "learning experience" would again be followed by hap hazard decisions of the PCB and resultantly we would not be able to solidly build upon any kind of learnings.

  • Ali on July 13, 2010, 9:21 GMT

    Goodluck Pakistan, again selction of 11 will play a vital role in the tests after afridi's captancy. Untill now he has proved himself a wonderful leader. He produced a quality cricket in both formats t20 and in odi's, a fighting spirit... Pakistan's about last 7 games were the most enternaining and were played untill last over...real fight. It's very tough competition but I beleive we will see some quality cricket from Pakistan as well because Australia is very experienced... Gudluck agian Afridi and Team.

  • Umair on July 13, 2010, 8:56 GMT

    Pakistani Teem Will be

    Salmat Butt Imran Farhat Azhar Amin Umer Akmal Kamran Akmal Shahid Afrid M. Amir Gul Asif Kaneria

    I think Shahid is leg spinner so saeed is a good choice rahter than the kaneria. Saeed has the experience agsainst Australia not in the test but in the T20 so Saeed is the good and decent choice. Pakistan is a new teem so the expectations are not very high. My best wishes are with Pakistanis. Good Luck Amir and all other teem mates.

  • adnan on July 13, 2010, 18:15 GMT

    i am a big supporter of pakistan... i think it is time that old guns, yousuf and younis, should give way to young guns to fire... i think the series would be very entertaining with pakistan's pace attack australian batsman will be tested... Good Luck Pakistan

  • ATIF SHEIKH k.s.a on July 13, 2010, 15:32 GMT

    aamir and Umer Akmal they are great just pakistan team need this kind of player's then really pakistan will come no.1 anyhow my best wishese with my great team pakistan love u all guy

  • Zahid on July 13, 2010, 14:00 GMT

    Another test match starts today.. sorry to say, same result coming up after 4 days, an Aussie win.. What is wrong with the pakistani selectors with their choice of top order batsman, One assumes Afridi and the coach decided that, Imran Farhat?? Should he be there? i hope for his teams sakes he does perform. the guy who should be opening or batting at number 3..is in the squad but still not playing, yes, Yasir Hamid, at a time when Pakistan are desperately short of experienced players and they are playing Australia no less.. the fact that Hamid has played them before in Australia, and looked at least semi decent in his performances.. why isnt he playing?? Makes you wonder? Still the losers in the top order who are expected to fail, will fail and this guy won't get a chance even in the second test as the captain has said even failures will get an extended run beforehand. Sorry Pakistan, 2 - 0 to Australia while dodgy players continue to get picked over deserving ones..Just hope im wrong

  • Hasan Siftain Cheema on July 13, 2010, 13:40 GMT

    I wish we (pak) will win this match

  • laieq hashmi on July 13, 2010, 12:20 GMT

    Pakistan record in england against england is good enough pak bowling is outstanding having quality seam of asif reverse swing of gul share pace of ammir and magical leggies of Kaneria but my real concern is Pak weak batting order which always led down them and against Ausies especially absence of Younas and yousaf its realy tough task for Pak to beat AUS if their batsmen manage to score around 300 in each innings then they can give hard time to ausies and series wil be compoetitive

  • Gulab on July 13, 2010, 11:47 GMT

    You are correct, and today looking to the structure of the Pakistani team it seems that it is now capable as Shoaib Malik which is bone of contention is out of the team which is good for the two youngsters Azhar and Amin. They have a chance to permanantly make their place in team. I am with these youngsters.

  • Javaid M. Malik on July 13, 2010, 10:46 GMT

    Our team is in re-building process therefore some players will be un-experienced. But this is a fact that all world great players were also new & un-experienced when they started their test cricket. Umer Akmal is also un-experiencd but now he is one of the talented player of our team. InshaAllah, some of them will also flursh in their effort. Therefore we should be positive about these players. In addition, we should not expect too much at this stage. Each member of the team should give his 100% during these matches. Good Luck TEAM PAKISTAN!

  • AK on July 13, 2010, 10:46 GMT

    "Learning experience". Apparently, the Pakistani cricket is always undergoing spme kind of learning experience. However, eventually the only ones who get to benefit from such "learning experiences" are the opposing sides:)

    Goodluck Afridi and team, however, i am afraid that this "learning experience" would again be followed by hap hazard decisions of the PCB and resultantly we would not be able to solidly build upon any kind of learnings.

  • Ali on July 13, 2010, 9:21 GMT

    Goodluck Pakistan, again selction of 11 will play a vital role in the tests after afridi's captancy. Untill now he has proved himself a wonderful leader. He produced a quality cricket in both formats t20 and in odi's, a fighting spirit... Pakistan's about last 7 games were the most enternaining and were played untill last over...real fight. It's very tough competition but I beleive we will see some quality cricket from Pakistan as well because Australia is very experienced... Gudluck agian Afridi and Team.

  • Umair on July 13, 2010, 8:56 GMT

    Pakistani Teem Will be

    Salmat Butt Imran Farhat Azhar Amin Umer Akmal Kamran Akmal Shahid Afrid M. Amir Gul Asif Kaneria

    I think Shahid is leg spinner so saeed is a good choice rahter than the kaneria. Saeed has the experience agsainst Australia not in the test but in the T20 so Saeed is the good and decent choice. Pakistan is a new teem so the expectations are not very high. My best wishes are with Pakistanis. Good Luck Amir and all other teem mates.

  • salman on July 13, 2010, 8:51 GMT

    Come on Pakistan .... just give your 100 % make Australia life hard that is all what we want at this moment ... make very difficult for auzz to win....

  • humza KHAN on July 13, 2010, 8:43 GMT

    i think there is absolutely no point in playing imran farhat, it would be better if we let umar amin or yasir hameed open (though i wouldn't mind malik too - as a last resort).. in afridi's presence, i really don't see the use of kaneria.. sure he is a good bowler but in english conditions, afridi would be more lethal with his variations, quick action and he also extracts more bounce out of the pitch.. my eleven would be: 1. Salman Butt 2. Yasir Hameed 3. Umar Amin 4. Umar Akmal 5. Azhar Ali 6. Shoaib Malik 7. Kamran Akmal 8. Shahid Afridi 9. M. Aamer 10. Umar Gul 11. M. Asif this combo would giv us more variation in the spin department (with malik's off-spin) and a stronger batting line-up (because lets face it, afridi at 6 is just not good enough for even bangladesh)..

  • Khan, Wajid M on July 13, 2010, 8:40 GMT

    Best comment .. true to the spirit of the game was Posted by: Naveed Zafar at July 12, 2010 7:43 PM.

    Ata Boy Pakistan! It's revenge time :-) Best of luck to you ..

    Ideal team to field:

    1. Salman Butt. 2. Yasir Hameed (he has ironed out the faults in his batting technique). 3. Fawad Alam (give the guys the chance to truly show his mettle). 4. Umar Amin or Azhar Ali (both are equally talented and highly rated. Azhar has a better temperament as an opener). 5. Umar Akmal. 6. Shahid Khan Afridi. 7. Kamran Akmal (WK/Batsman). 8. Muhammad Amir. 9. Umar Gul. 10. Muhammad Asif. 11. Danish Kaneria or Saeed Ajmal (though Danish is a premier spinner and has laudable records personally I think Saeed Ajmal is a better strike wicket taking bowler).

    May luck favor the brave and young Pakistani team and may they be the new glorious chapter in our cricketing histroy .. Amen!

  • Asad on July 13, 2010, 8:21 GMT

    Austraila will start as favourites, very little doubt about that. But Pakistan will finish with a lot of surprizes. Pakistan should include Yasir Hamid and Abdul Razzaq as well. My test team would be: 1. Salman Butt 2. Kamran Akmal (wk) 3. Yasir Hameed 4. Umar Akmal 5. Abdul Razzaq 6. Shahid Afridi (c) 7. Mohammad Aamir 8. Saeed Ajmal 9. Umar Gul 10.Mohammad Asif 11.Danish Kaneria

    Just remember Australians have got better batting line up, and to compensate that Pakistan needs extra bowlers. In this combination we have Aamir, Asif, Gul, Kaneria, Razzaq, Ajmal and Afridi. And 10 wickets in a day should not be very difficult for this combination. And you get all bowling options in this combination ranging from swing, seam, legbreak, offspin, medium etc. As far as Pakistan's batting is concerned, Akmal brothers, Yasir Hameed, Butt, Razzaq etc are capable of surving the whole day against quality bowling, and they have all shown it in past.

  • sridhar on July 13, 2010, 8:14 GMT

    It is just amazing to see the fervour that precedes this match and I wish our friends across the border the very best of luck.Paksitan may lack experience and some of their best players are not here, for reasons best known to the PCB, but they have no alternative but to go for broke. Luckily for Pakistan, they have a fearless if slightly temperamental leader, a wicketkeeper who has seen better days and a young team that is largely unknown to the rest of the world. Their bowling is good and can even be lethal in English conditions . But will they hold their catches and will they let the tail wag? If they do either of these , then they may flatter to deceive. But they are an attractive team and should challenge the Aussies and most critically they will have good crowd support. It will be a home game for them. Do well Pakistan, ramanujam sridhar

  • Rovaid on July 13, 2010, 8:05 GMT

    Australia starts the favorites but i think afridi's men have enthusiasm and self belief after that t20 twin wins over australia which should have boosted them even more. And if not any thing more , they pakistanis have nothing to loose so i think they will enter the ground positivly and have 45 percent chances of winning over the ausssies.

  • Rahul on July 13, 2010, 7:35 GMT

    I am an indian supporter from heart but my all time fav. bowling attack is pakistan bowling. They have Gul,Ashif,Akhtar who can destroy all batting line up, but what will happen when Aus score 250+ runs on board, is there any batsman who stand alone and face Aussy attack,perhaps Umar Akmal has such calliber. Thank God, Shoaib Malik is not in final 11.As per Indian cricket, Srilanka Series is yet to start but no one is interested in this series, we are all waiting for pak-Aus Test series, And expecting some good cricket from pakistan. Best of Luck Pakistan.

  • TrueCricketLover23 on July 13, 2010, 7:25 GMT

    I totally agree with Bila Mian...who Posted on July 12th, 2010 10:12pm.

    Dear Mr. Kamran Abbasi, If you are true Cricket Lover and want to write then kindly write on to bring Mohammed Yousuf back in the Pak team...This is shame for all ICC, PCB and cricket writers including you that such a class player is out of the picture and millions of True Cricket Lover / fans from all over the world are awaiting to see Mohammed Yousuf in Action.

  • plsn on July 13, 2010, 6:33 GMT

    The Aussie stalwarts have retired.But the arrogance part is well nurtured by the half-cock technicians like Clark. Pakistan may not have a solid batting line up or the spinners to do the trick. But think of Sachin's debut against Pak in the late 80s. Who knows what this Paki batting novices can throw up to the Cricketing world. In fact, it is high time that Pakistan came up with a batting wizard like Sachin. Be positive Pak. Let not these Aussies talk you to defeatism. On a neutral ground is the best time to show them their true place. It should be Pakistan's raw batting talent vs Aussies talking talent. Good luck Afridi. You not only have Pakistan and Pommy support but the might of a billion and more from across the border behind you!

  • Ibrahim Khan on July 13, 2010, 6:29 GMT

    i think yunus n yusuf shuld b included, where is the Asim Kamal left handed batsman.... oh my God wat politics going on in our country.....Sohail Khan shuld b included also.. bcoz he can bowl 145...Fawad is gr8 find bt, Asim Kamal is much beter player then him bcoz he got evey shot in his pocket....Best of Luck Pakistan concentrate on fielding plz dnt miss catches....

  • Abul Hasnat on July 13, 2010, 6:09 GMT

    At first I will propose a team that I think should be selected for the first test. I will then give my reasons why this team. So here is my team in batting order:

    1. Salman Butt 2. Imran Farhat 3. Yasir Hamid 4. Shoaib Malik 5. Umar Akmal 6. Kamran Akmal 7. Shahid Afridi 8. Mohammad Amer 9. Umar Gul 10. Saeed Ajmal (Preferred) or Dinesh Kaneria (Epensive) 11. Mohammad Asif

    Even though Pakistan has several new and younger faces I picked none of the young talent, because fisrst of all I did not find any one who has performed exceptionally well in First Class Cricket and secondly, Pakistan can not afford to return to losing matches again after having built a degree of confidence after winning the two T 20's against Australia. There will be other matches where the younger guys may be tried - NOT THIS ONE.

    Thanks

  • Gohar Hasan on July 13, 2010, 5:54 GMT

    Those who said Pakistan has lost its Fan following must check the number of Comments to this article, this shows Pakistani Fans still believes in their team. I hope we'll have another find during this tour, now lets see who will shine on the day. Go Green Go...!!

  • imtiaz on July 13, 2010, 5:49 GMT

    Can you say honestly think if Both Y Y returns pakistan will be able to beat Aussies? I think not. I really like to see these new talent on the the most difficult English condition under a very strong and bold Aussies. Pakistan does not have a pressure if they loose, infact what if Aussies loose even one test, they will fold like a house of cards, knowingly they have to play England in the near future. Also yes they are hot favourites, who cares !! but what if we do discover another Umar Akmal in a making than even Yousuf and Younis has to fight for there place, again what if, what if, and it could very well happens. So lets the young gun dive into cold deep water, and if they can float it will be a new beginning otherwise its business as usual (:

  • KSB on July 13, 2010, 5:49 GMT

    SALAM

    Two giants of cricket are at lords this will be the battle of ego for Afridi's army.they will win that ego war. Inshallaha

  • usman on July 13, 2010, 5:00 GMT

    Emotional talks are always a good way to period ones debate but here we need to rise our heads above it to assess the true form of this team. Its well known how people from Indo-Pak are emotionally attached with this game, so it definitely covers up many flaws while writing an article. Being Paki we should realize that there should be an end to being emotional any more. It is seen and felt all the way from politics to daily life n to the sports field. Our cricket team like politics should move ahead now. We need to see beyond the same old faces in both our departments (politics or sports) if we really aim greatness. So forget the two Y's while we put the full assembly hall on fire. I for one am happy with the fact that Pakistan is not allowed to play home games n let it be for another 3 years. With new and young faces playing on australian n english pitches, it will grow into a decent team despite of some initial failures. so best of luck team Pakistan.

  • waseem on July 13, 2010, 4:41 GMT

    i think that shahid afridi is making joke of him self by not slecting shoib malik in the squad. actually afridi just want younas and not want malik but it is not good for cricket because malik is a senior player but now afridi is playing politics.because if captain not give a player value and confidence then how that player can perform .this is the fate of pakistan cricket.in these days every body make malik a vilan and afridi a hero but u can check both players careers who win more man of the match for country butour country people always behind afridi because he hitting sixes an d all . he never think for country before but now he is captain and little matured but still have black heart.

  • Ahmed Shariq Mukri on July 13, 2010, 4:30 GMT

    Well written article. At test match level you do need more experience. Fawad Alam has much better test match playing prospects and he would be better off included together with likes of Yasir Hameed and/or Misbah ul Haq. M Yusuf is not a failed captain - he simply did not have the administrative support and the team management reform which Shahid Afridi is now having. Perhaps, there ought to be Under-19 International Test Cricket to justify inclusion of younger names for this or similar tests.

  • Saiful Ansari on July 13, 2010, 4:27 GMT

    The young players will be facing a very good Aussie side. It will be a make or break situation for them & they will either prosper or perish. We had some young players who got an opportunity in Newzealand & Australia. They did not perform under pressure. The exceptions were Umar Akmal & Mohammad Amir. With a new skipper & coach, it remains to ve seen if Pak batting side will have the depth to bat patiently & put a decent score in the both the innings. Experts give no chance to Pakistan against the mighty Aussies in the longer format of the game. It is up to this young & inexperienced team to fight & prove them wrong. It is also a challenge for Butt, Shoaib Malik & Afridi to bat responsibly & give confidence to the youngsters. Asif has not bowled well. Gul has not been very effective in test cricket. They both need to come up big and support the young Amir. It is a tall task. To upset their opponents the Pak batsmen need to produce adequate scores, their bowlers can defend.

  • ejaz azim on July 13, 2010, 3:53 GMT

    1)SALMAN BUTT 2)FAWAD ALAM 3)YASIR HAMEED 4)UMAR AKMAL 5)SHOAIB MALIK 6)SHAHID AFRIDI 7)KAMRAN AKMAL 8)ABDUL RAZZAQ 9)MUHAMMAD AAMIR 10)DANISH KANERIA 11)MUHAMMAD ASIF

  • salik on July 13, 2010, 3:03 GMT

    They should opt for Akmal in opening instead of wasting a spot for a player like Farhat( Fact: he cant face high pace bowling)... and 2.S.Butt ,than Shoaib Malik should be 1 down with Amin ,Umar Akmal, AFRIDI, Azhar ali following him .. no place for Yasir hameed too( if you want to experiment than go for something new). Our bowling should be the same as everyone's saying Gul, Aamer, Asif, Kaneria... Though i still want Shoaib Akhtar in the team cuz we have plenty of spinners so even if he bowls 10-15 overs a day.. its better than 50 overs from asif and gul (still i so much want them to prove me wrong tomorrow).. and please no Wahab Riaz, (i dont want a bowler to concede 200+ runs in a match and get 3-4 'Tailenders' out and still have reasonable figures)... I just hope that TONIGHTS GONNA BE A GOOD GOOD NIGHTTT!!!!

  • Sheraz on July 13, 2010, 2:54 GMT

    The only way Pakistan can win against the Aussies is with Bowling.....................

    our batting has never won a match for us against Aussies ..................

    so Pakistan should not be mourning about the conditions in England..............................its a blessing indisguise.......

    Even with our YK,MOYO and INZI when never threatened Aussies so it has to be bowling..................

    If Pakistan can somehow manage 350 avg score with all luck against aussies we have a match on our hands.....

    Fragile batting would be a big problem for pakistan but we can make YK , Moyo and Inzi over night....

    a year go who would had thought Umar Akmal would be our Back bone in Batting in a year time...............

    So we need to give chnaces to youngesters and pray for their success instead of mourning about YK and Moyo they are history

  • Farrukh Arif on July 13, 2010, 2:53 GMT

    I think one of Umar Amin or Azhar Ali will come out as a 100 on debut player. But to lessen the burden on the batting lineup...Pakistan needs to bat first so there is no chance of follow on and than chasing something in fourth innings that will at least cut down the pressure on batting by 10%. I also think that we shall not underestimate Afridi as a test batsman. Though i agree he is not the kind of but still he has scored 100 against India, West Indies and England....Hope for the best

  • Rizwan on July 13, 2010, 2:42 GMT

    AM GONNA SEE how Afridi Gonna play....

  • Rahul on July 13, 2010, 2:42 GMT

    GO PAK GO, INDIA'S SUPPORT WITH U, SHOW AUSTRALIYA THE ASIAN POWER.

  • Rahul on July 13, 2010, 2:39 GMT

    good luck

  • Zulfikar Khan Tanoli on July 13, 2010, 2:26 GMT

    My fellow Pakistanis and of course "writer", you all failed to understand that Yonis is a dummy. This guy is good enough for himself. He dumps Pak team whenever he wants to, he run away from his duties on many times. He is a a good player and captain when things are going great, basically he is okay during happy time but when there is difficulty and test of leadership and sportsmanship, he disappears...So if you wanna test someone's personlity, test him/her during bad times... As for as M Yosaf is concerned, he has complex issues....by the way, yosaf and yonis were bpth playing when we have lost 5-0 ODIs against Aus...You gus needs to move on and talk about young, strong and professional players...Remember lost and win is part of game but having strong personalities and professional counts!!!

  • PAKISTAN on July 13, 2010, 2:11 GMT

    For all the Shoaib Malik fans, he will not be playing in the first test tommorow!! ( news from Pak dressing room) dont exactly nw y, but we ll cc tommorow

  • Chris_P on July 13, 2010, 1:55 GMT

    Oh Shahid, there is no greater admnirer in Australia of your dynamic anilities than me and I have always rated you one of the 3 best one day players around, but test cricket it totally different. You have to be switched on the full 5 days and have control of proceedings the whole time. This just doesn't happen overnight and to be blunt, you have not shown these qualities in your performaces in test cricket to date. Des[ite the results in Australia, I found Yousuf to be calm and thoughtdful without having the full support of both team and management, and this from somneone who has succeeded at the highest level. Whatever the series result, I hope you don't drop out of international cricket, and your return to South Australia for the big bash is eagerly awaited!

  • Malik Waqas on July 13, 2010, 1:05 GMT

    Kamran,

    I really don't understand the inclusion of imran farhat (we all friends call him a safarshi). I also don't understand nobody writes about his inclusion based on his very less talent. Waqar younis was doing the commentary in New Zealand and he was not impressed with his talent and even with his 100..but still he is in playing 11 under waqar's coaching. Please tell me which team in this world will include imran farhat in playing 11 (other than Pakistan and lahore badshah).

  • Khan from OZ on July 12, 2010, 23:47 GMT

    Aqeel Haider - how many cricket matches have you watched mate. Go see Younis anf Yousuf's records first then talk. While you are at it also check out Afridi and Malik's records at test level because we are talking test here not T20. How may test matches have these two won for Pakistan and by the way do you know Imran, Miandad and Inzi have retired long ago.

  • Snake & Termite on July 12, 2010, 23:41 GMT

    Our beloved Snake & Termite is still there. He must know all the Generals, the PM and the President.

  • Kamran Akmal Fan Club on July 12, 2010, 23:39 GMT

    I am looking forward to Kamran's keeping. Let's see how many catches he drops off Kaneria. Remember last England series - Kamran drpped no less than 20 catches and we lost 3 nil. If I was Kaneria I would refuse to bowl if Kamran is keeping. Kamran's keeping against Kaneria is pathetic.

  • Ajmal on July 12, 2010, 23:23 GMT

    Pakistani bowler can do everything.... but there is a question mark on our batting lineup Pakistani bating well suffer from the kangro bowling... Because pakistan will fight with new talent and i think so kangro can win easily if they defeat to pakistan bowler

  • jonas on July 12, 2010, 23:06 GMT

    finally some test cricket for pakistan !

  • CricSecular on July 12, 2010, 22:48 GMT

    After reading many comments (brings alots of history), I see only the following for the based on the weak team selection: Butt,Yasir,Malik,Azhar,Umar,Amin,Kamran,Afridi,Amer,Asif,Gul that means 8 batsmen, worth taking risk leaving Kaneria because Afridi,Malik can fill the spot while team benefiting an extra batsmen where the team is currenly thin and weak. Worth noting here this depth would give a balance and power to score runs.

    Butt,Yasir,Malik,Azhar,Umar,Amin,Kamran,Afridi,Amer,Asif,Gul

    Malik must come 3rd because he is experience and have succeeded in the ODIs-I don't know which crack disturbed him from that spot and A FINAL MESSAGE TO HIM THAT THIS IS THE FINAL SERIES FOR HIM IF HE DOESN'T PLAY RESPONSIBLY.

    I am an Indian but my wishes and all supports are there for PAK as many millions support (rss/bjp/vhp-the non secular parties of India are the real non-peace lovers and wanting to divide people and sports)

  • David on July 12, 2010, 22:45 GMT

    Personally i wouldn't be surprised if pakistan can give australia abit of a scare. Australia hasn't really looked in form as of late and some batting collapses wouldn't surprise me.

  • Bilal Mian on July 12, 2010, 22:42 GMT

    Yasir hameed should definetely play but unfortunately might miss out. As much as i hate to see farhat in the side as opener it looks like he will play given the decent parterships he's had with salman in the last 6 tests. Umar amin will play but nt sure about azhar ali even though he's talented. Malik is not test material especially in foreign conditions. Pakistan should not have played tests ideally without yousuf and younis but vicious cycle of dirty politics has damaged pakistan cricket considerably. PCB needs complete overhauling, we need to make it professional in real terms and competent people need to brought in to run and restructure/ renovate pakistan cricket infrastructure. In absence of yousuf and younis, fawad alam should not have been dropped and khurram manzoor did score 70 odd runs in his first test ( failed in first innings but came back well in 2nd inngs) so i can't understand why he's dropped ?

    Pakistan team needs time to redevelop into a world class team.

  • Faisal.Jaan on July 12, 2010, 21:50 GMT

    To all Kaneria fans,

    He is a pathetic performer on test level. Give me 50 overs per innings, I will get you 4 wickets for 200 odd runs. Thats his story. He is a looser who should have been replaced by Afridi atleast 4 years ago. See this comparison. Afridi test bowling avg: 34, Kaneria 34. Afridi First class bwl avg 27, Kaneria 26. Add Kaneria's pathetic fielding and batting to this, and decide it yourself. :)

  • moon on July 12, 2010, 21:22 GMT

    world,s greatest bastman MUHAMMAD YUSUF should be included in the side.

  • Shahid Khan Afridi on July 12, 2010, 21:11 GMT

    I hope Pakistan will play with these players . 1.Salman Butt 2.Kamran Akamal 3.Yasir Hameed 4.Umar Ameen 5.Shoaib Malik 6.Umar Akmal 7.Shahid Afridi 8.Mohammad Amar 9.Tanvir Ahemd 10.Umar Gul 11.Danish Kanaria 3 Fast bowlers , 1 Leg Spinner , Afridi and Malik Part Time Bowlers. (Mean 3 Fast and 3 Spinners )

  • Sohaib Qazi on July 12, 2010, 21:00 GMT

    Hi It sounds great to read lovely wishing comments from indions for Pakistan. I think this series will belong to Australia with the result 2-0. But i am pretty sure Afridi will give them very crucial time. Personally with the given 15 boys, I would like to open with Salman and Yasir if i am the captain of this team. At number 3 i will send malik. Umar Akmal at 4. Then at 5 you can play with a new face. At 6 Afridi should come along with Kamran at 7. 8 for Amir and 9th position is waiting for Umar Gull. 10,11 is for Asif and Kaneria. Gull has to bowl in good rhythm and Kaneria has to stop the runs speed of Australia. I think Afridi could create problems for australia with his versatile bowling variations. And Salman butt,Malik,Kamran Akmal, Afridi should have to take batting responsibilities. Whereas Asif should have to manage his line and length back coz Australians are much attacking in their approach. Every Pakistani player has to put 100% effort to lift up the moral of the game.

  • Shabbir Khan (riyadh) on July 12, 2010, 21:00 GMT

    i wish Pakistan could beat the Aussies by an INNING and 1 run.

  • Imran Arif on July 12, 2010, 20:46 GMT

    its tough... but not impossible... go on PAKISTAN and show what u r capable of...

    GO OUT THERE AND WIN.... INSHALLAH WE WILL...

  • Blake on July 12, 2010, 20:36 GMT

    For Pakistan to have any chance, Salman Butt will have to stand up and play the series that will be the making of his reputation and cement his confidence.

    Umar Akmal will have to make a big hundred somewhere, as well as quickfire 60's, which will not be anough (Afridi might provide those if he plays well).

    And Kamran Akmal will have to take the chances Kaneria has proven time and again he can create. How is Kamran back in the team as keeper (he is probably worth playing just as a batsman for his experience in the current team)? In Sydney he proved he is either the worlds worst wicketkeeper or not the kind of moral character who deserves to represent his country in international cricket...

  • Hassaan Qureshi on July 12, 2010, 20:09 GMT

    "the only limits on spirit on a cricket field are self imposed." Excellent sir :)

  • AJ on July 12, 2010, 20:01 GMT

    Salams to all,

    I think the most we can ask of this current crop of players is to just fight to the very end. The mainstays of our team (asif amer and umar) havent even played 30 tests between them, so a victory, whilst attainable is not something we should feel is our right, especially against a tough opposition like the aussies.

    The combination selected will be important, especially if we decide to play afridi as the specialist spinner and throw in another batsman. Personally I don't thimk we should do this because the Aussies would sense the fear and they know exactly how to go for the kill.

    If Afridi can have a good 5 days, we can pull this off.

    Pakistan Zindabad

    Get behind the boys!!!

  • Akbar from NYC (again) on July 12, 2010, 19:51 GMT

    please change your photo kamran sahib. and ask pcb to invest in haircuts for Ajmal and Rameez

  • Akbar from NYC on July 12, 2010, 19:49 GMT

    I must say I respect Younis for taking the stand that he did, and believe the fact that he should be a part of the test squad... and test squad only. Same goes for Yousuf. Look at how India used Dravid and Laxman. I despise Shoaib Malik.. he just got back in the team and wanted to leave the Asia Cup early. Nonsense. What is Imran Farhat doing in the UK? Either play Fawad Alam or leave him alone... not even the camera man gives him a chance to be on TV. Where's Asim Kamal right now? Even if it is a test, go bezerk on those Aussies from the word go... If you have to spend just one day on the crease so be it, but put the runs up on the board. I just don't want the team to go into a shell because it is a test match. InshaAllah we will win. Welcome back Akhtar.

  • Naveed Zafar on July 12, 2010, 19:43 GMT

    After reading everyone's comment, i just want to remind u that in pakistan, we are born with the passion cricket. I think these new gun's are going to fire a bullet in the cricket history. New players are good to have in test cricket as people dont know their weak points. So, it will not be a surprise for me to see these new ones score more than the malik the useless. I love pakistan even if they lose and but i have a feeling that this is time for revenge.

  • Arshad on July 12, 2010, 19:41 GMT

    My playing 11 :- Salman Butt Umer Amin Shoaib Malik Umer Akmal Fawad Alam Shahid Afridi Kamran Akmal Muhammad Aamir Umer Gul Muhammad Aasif Danish Kaneria or Saeed Ajmal

  • Farhan on July 12, 2010, 19:34 GMT

    Yasir Hameed is a really great player, and he has always impressed whenever he has played for Pakistan. He must be included in the middle order!

  • AdeelAsghar on July 12, 2010, 18:56 GMT

    It will be hard for the Pak team, no doubts about it.. But it doesnt mean its impossible.. Test cricket is all about winning sessions.. so in Pakistani cricket language its combination of 15 T20 in 5 days, dats about it..!! :) GO GREEN TEAM, ROCK ON..!!

  • bilal on July 12, 2010, 18:51 GMT

    i think hameed would play at no.3 .. but regardless of the battin order i knw pak will fite till the end

  • Ahmed on July 12, 2010, 18:33 GMT

    I think present cricket set up in Pakistan is the all time worst. How could they drop Younis and have Malik and Akmal on the team. This is an open criminal act in broad daylight.

    I think we are in for another white wash. By the way, our bowling might be better then our batting but we will all see this summer Aussies and English batsmen will clinically take it apart.

  • asimations on July 12, 2010, 18:19 GMT

    Well dont expect too much from a team that has a very weak back bone and by saying that I mean the middle order. Bowling is fine but will they get support from fielders that's a big question mark. In the past results have been changed by poor fielding. So 2 out of 3 departments are weak and facing a team that has 10 by 10 marks for all the departments.Result is obvious if the ball seams match is over in three days. If we could change the pitch of our so called home ground may be we can prolong the miseries but we cant change the weather. Only one thing can change the whole scenario to the extent of victory for Pakistan that is the spirit to fight and win, the way Imrans tigers did in worldcup 1992. Does nt matter that batsmen are inexperienced if they decide to stay on they can do it . But that means Jaan ke bazi lagana all 5 days. Afridi needs to prove his mentor here to lead from the front otherwise get ready for a 2-0 series.

  • harris on July 12, 2010, 18:15 GMT

    Pakistan can't even draw against Australia .They need mahummad yousuf and younis khan in batting squard to beat australia.Bowling is enough just keep umar gul,asif,aamir or maybe shoaib akhter in bowling attack simple is that.

  • Moody on July 12, 2010, 18:14 GMT

    if someone wants to become a part of pakistani team then marry a team selector's daughter;-) [excluding farhat, who is playing on merit LOL]. yusuf and yunis are old, nowadays they can neither field well nor bat well. they have become liability on Green Shirts. pakistan should test new talent, they should think a long term plan not a short term plan. try new faces like amin, azhar etc not someone like faisal iqbal and fawad alam.

  • Hameed Malik on July 12, 2010, 18:13 GMT

    After reading this great article from Kamran Abbasi, I must say " Pakistan can only win if God is also playing from Pakistan side and more over angels are causing confusions in the mind of Australian cricketrs so they get run out or get LBW. Moreover couple of two mistaken LBW decisions are also goes in favour of Pakistan. Rich bookies need to dish out some big bucks to umpires or Pakistan would lose'.I dont even think Pakistanians players are conditioned to be even able to stand for 5 days forget about fielding for 5 days. If Australia batted first then game is over as they would reach 845 for 2 wickets in 3 days. Unfortunately both players that would be out will be only run outs because of confusion among themselves for taking the 5th run or not while fielder is still fumbling the ball or trying to pick up the ball after the unnecessary dive and staying flat on ground hoping someone else would run after the ball. I got every thing downpath. No one knows Pakistani cricketers then m

  • shaaik on July 12, 2010, 18:13 GMT

    WHAT PEACH OF AN ARTICLE.....

    Pakistan the most under achieving tym on Earth will have a point or 2 to prove whn they will lock horns with the might of Australia tomorrow..I too hv my doubts abt this Inexperienced but brimmed with raw TAlent... so getting a PAk supporting rights on Birth, i m extremely hopefull of some good show being put together by Afridi and his men.. Something has really taken me by storm how on earth cd u prefer Umer Amin over Yasir Hammed who really has fallen prey in the hands of ill directed PCB..Yasir Hameed shd be an automatic selection for toms. encounter... Coming to balling, All eyes wd be on Asif may be Aamir cd prove a surprise package.Asif has deliver under all circumstances tom. if Pakstan has to pull off a miracle tom.and Kanaria wd hv to support him aptly who u really hv under rated in all ur Articles coz he really shd hv got more credit for his nvr ending efforts he has contributed in pakistan crickey over the yrs...All the very best to Akmal bro.s

  • Akbar on July 12, 2010, 18:05 GMT

    Pak should avoid complacency. Aus has always been a tough opposition. It,s a blessing in disguise that for Afridi psychological war doesn,t mean anything. Aus has mastered this skill & brings the opposition in a state of submission before a ball is being bowled. They tried to focus on Afridi before the series started by saying that Afridi doesn,t have much test experience & that he has not played a test in last 5 years or so & that he will be a soft target. Now they have rightly identified the Pak batting line up to bring them under pressure. In Aus we didnot lose because of our bowlers. Infact bowling has always been Pak strongest element in victories. After conceeding ODI defeat to Eng,for the first time AUS is smelling something fishy. They know that Aus will be playing THE ASHES after playing Pak. Any setback against Pak will effectively roll back Ponting,s carrier as well because eventually they are going to suffer an Ashes defeat.

  • desihungama on July 12, 2010, 17:58 GMT

    I think Younas Khan refused "Aqa's" blessings, that is the chief patron of the board. Maybe CJ can take sou moto of that too?

  • Shiraz on July 12, 2010, 17:57 GMT

    Pakistani team doesn't have test palyers in it. I don't think they'll be able to handle the test against the Aussies. T20 is a totally different ball game, I'd like it gulli dunda, which we call cricket that we play in our gullis and muhallas! Pakis are good at that but.... test? no way!

  • Aqeel Haider on July 12, 2010, 17:49 GMT

    Kamran,

    I do disagree with you on the selection bit. It befuddles me on how you can justify the selection of Yousuf or Younis. They have always failed Pakistan in crunch times outside of Pakistan.

    I remember many a game being saved by the likes of Imran, Miandad and even Inzi. However I don't recall this duo ever winning us a game or helping us come from behind in a match. It is high time to leave the egos of these over rated players behind and look at fresh blood. The worse can be not being able to chase 170 in the fourth innings of a test match and guess what... we were pretty good at it with Yousuf and Younis at the helm of affairs....

  • bohurupi on July 12, 2010, 17:43 GMT

    Winning couple of T20 matches might have had increased the spirit of Pakistani cricket and its players, but does not guarantee anything for the upcoming test matches. Australia will come up with all its venoms to strike the hardest. That's test cricket, the real challenge in which Aussies still excel better than any other team in the world. Pakistan bowling side probably is better of the two (which of course sometimes click, sometimes does not), but its batting performances still remain terribly dismal. Except Umar Akmal no one else is playing to his full capacity or reputation. S Malik and K Akmal are still to find their form. The new comers or relative new comers have done very little to blow any good deal air of relief in the Pakistani camp. S Butt is as inconsistent as Pakistan cricket. Afridi, after couple of good ODI scores, tends again to lose his form. But his charisma, charm and leadership have the ability to put everything together and turn things around.

  • Jawad Tahir on July 12, 2010, 17:42 GMT

    i think its high time to leave two y's behind and move on, give new talent time and chance to settle down. even if the two debutants start badly but show class and talent, mr abbasi pls dont come hard on them. give them space and time.

  • rauf on July 12, 2010, 17:38 GMT

    Mr. Ijaz butt damage more then anyone pakistan cricket baning and lifting the ban, then droping made more difficult for pakistan cricket, more like pakistani politician he damage the pakistan cricket

  • Syed Basit on July 12, 2010, 17:38 GMT

    Firstly, I'd like to thank the Indian commenters showing support for the Pakistani team. It does feel nice to read something like "Good Luck Pakistan from your brother in India"

    Now, as for the tests, I might be setting myself up for heart-break, but I have a very good feeling about this team we're going in with.

    Yes, it lacks experience to face an Aussie attack in English conditions against the Duke ball. Yes, our track record is poor against the Aussies. And yes, our captain hasn't played a Test match in four years. BUT, sometimes, and like its always been with our beautiful cricket team, all you need is HEART to win it.

    I dont know much, but what I do know is, with Afridi in his bowlers ears after every ball, cheering them up, pepping them up, we can pull this off.

    Now all you Pakistani fans might think I'm talking out of my ass, but at the end of the day, even if we trouble the Aussies, and fight till the end, I'll be happy to say our Pakistani team as we once knew it, is back

  • Shamas Bokhari on July 12, 2010, 17:36 GMT

    Pakistan,

    I am always behind you. Enjoy the game at Lord's and play hard. Show the Aussies you mean business and they have to chase you. Be proud and work hard and you will win. Throw away all stresses and nonsense.

    Shamas.

  • Abid Mashwani on July 12, 2010, 17:27 GMT

    I think Pakistan will go defensive and will be wary of their batting line-up. For this reason, Pakistan should strengthen the batting by going to three seamers in (Gul, Asif and Aamer) and rely on Afridi, Malik and Azhar/Farhat for spinners and extra overs.

    Pakistan will be better off going with stronger batting and left right combination for openers: 1. Butt 2. Yasir Hameed 3. U Amin (he will still have one comparative experience opener with him) 4. Malik 5. U Akmal 6. Azhar 7. Afridi 8. K Akmal 9. Aamer 10. Gul 11. Asif

  • Shahid on July 12, 2010, 17:18 GMT

    Now as I read the news of 11 being announced, Yaser Hamid and Shoaib are not in the playing 11. Inclusion of Imran Farhat and him being prefered over Yaser Hamid is out of my mental reach. Only reason can be his latest experience against aussies but then he didn't make a considerable score even onces on whole that tour. Yaser Hamid could have given that touch of experience which was needed after YY's departure. As the line-up looks like, The team could easily fall for 150 and match can be finished within 2½ days. Its Umar Akmal and Aamer vs Australia and anybody else contributing will be a bonus. I DON'T THINK Azhar and Amin are ready for Australia and wished it was Salman Butt, Yaser Hamid, Hassan Raza, Mohammad Wasim (Younis), Umar Akmal, Afridi and Kamran Akmal.

  • romen on July 12, 2010, 17:03 GMT

    australia is a very hard team for beat and pakistani spin bowler cant create any problem to australian top order batsmans.

  • PakistanforEver on July 12, 2010, 16:55 GMT

    My Pakistan XI: 1) Salman Butt 2) Yasir Hameed (well we got him here if u playing Malik then u can switch him with a new guy) 3) Fawad Alam (the guy has a decent test avg. and probably the best among the lot... In First Class avg. if you are not averaging over 50 in pakistan domestic conditions and against first class bowlers...you are not good enough for test status. 5) Umar Amin / Shoaib Malik ( I am not sure about Umar Amin but Waqar thinks highly of him, I would not like to play Malik but we lack experience and maybe just try one new player at a time.) 6) Afridi 7) Kamran Akmal 8) M. Amir 9) Shoaib Akhtar ( Just cause if he manages to bowl 10-15 overs through out a day, he is worth more than Umar Gul in test matches) 10) M.Asif ( I got Shoaib also cause Asif's form is a little off these days. 11) Kaneria ( he is our #1 test spinner)

  • zulfiqar ahmad on July 12, 2010, 16:51 GMT

    i think we have take a start from winning two t20s against ausses , so we can hope that it will lift our cricket and pakistani cricket will got greatness one day INSHALLAH

  • Umar Khan India on July 12, 2010, 16:45 GMT

    Is there any point in discussing about Yousuf and Younus? I am a big supporter of Yousuf but we must accept that a cricket team's performance is not influenced by individual batsmen, its a team game and that is exactly what Shahid Afridi and his Army is trying to prove... they are a TEAM. Good Luck Pakistan, may Allah shower all the success on you and your team for all the hard work that they putting. Plz stay away from politics.

  • qaysy on July 12, 2010, 16:31 GMT

    1 Salman Butt, 2 Umer Amin, 3 Shoaib Malik, 4 Azhar Ali, 5 Umar Akmal, 6 Shahid Afridi (capt), 7 Kamran Akmal (wk), 8 Mohammad Aamer, 9 Umar Gul, 10 Danish Kaneria, 11 Mohammad Asif.

  • Pankha on July 12, 2010, 16:19 GMT

    Interesting series for an India fan, given our two arch rivals competing. If two of the Pak batsmen (one of them needs to be U Akmal) take it upon themselves to carry the team and one or two other chip in, Ponting's team will be challenged, because Pak's bowling line-up in English conditions looks even more formidable than what the Aussies will face in the Ashes. May the best team win!

  • Khalid on July 12, 2010, 16:12 GMT

    I wish Pakistan team all the very best for the test series. This series will definitely test them as a team. I hope, they put up a great show against Australia.

  • ali mohammed on July 12, 2010, 16:12 GMT

    my pakistan test x1: 1)salman butt 2)farhat 3)azhar ali 4)amin 5)umar akmal 6)afridi 7)kamran 8)aamir 9)riaz 10)asif 11)kaneria

  • tariq saeed on July 12, 2010, 16:07 GMT

    irrespective of what happens, the fact remains that pakistan are the most talented and exciting team in world cricket. the charisma they carry is unmatched! i am proud of the immense talent present in pakistan cricket.all they need is a leader like the great imran. afridi is not another imran but he is certainly trying to be one. i wish him all the best. with luck they can pull it off.

  • Naz on July 12, 2010, 16:05 GMT

    Pretty accurate assessment of Pak's chances in the longer version coupled with the absence of the two Y's...one can only expect the worst! Yet Pak fans always live with hope, provided the team perform and remain competitive....its enough with the lack of cricket and senior players being forcibly rested!

    Afridi will at least make the the Aussies know the team is here to compete even for short bursts, rather than capitulate without a whimper when in a position of strength....Yusuf, a great batsman but a captain from a bygone era - reluctant tourist...just hoping to be a well-mannered guest and not looking to upset the apple cart of the hosts'.

    Shahid will be the total opposite, wanting to impose his team's presence whenever possible.....

  • fahim on July 12, 2010, 15:57 GMT

    things looking good for Pakistan what with 2 back to back wins over the Ozzies and they seem to be fielding a motivated and united unit (as all things with the Pakistan team i hope i havent spoken too soon!) few things that have irked however - no 1-can someone explain why imran farhat has become a regular feature in the team ?? i for one cant except that boy does it pay to have a connected father in law ! shame on the selectors i say and what of all the talk mohsin khan used to dish out eh ? happy to see afridi handled akhtar well - i agree in giving chances and not jumping to drastic measures and akhtar repaid his capts confidence with some good bowling. i do hope azhar mehmood gets a call while as for misbah - pls do burn your cricket kit - pls ! hope that salman butt has been practicing leaving the ball as at times he seems to be unaware of what an openers role should be (and unaware of where his off-stump is too!) wish mohd asif the best as he has plenty to offer.good luck!

  • Mudassar on July 12, 2010, 15:56 GMT

    It is alright to build a new young team when your seniors are either not performing or also creating problems in dressing room but it is really unwise to put very young players into such a stiff target. They need guidance, they need a clam and sure hand in the middle. This is too much to ask from players with not a single test in the bag. God help them! It is also putting a lot more pressure on bowling.

  • Imran Ahmad Khan on July 12, 2010, 15:48 GMT

    You are spot-on Mr. Kamran. Like every Pakistani fan, we will let our eternal optimism flourish. When Afridi's Army takes the centre stage tomorrow, it will not just be about those eleven men involved in the match but it will also be about the dormant hopes of a cricketing nation that has seldom seen consistency from it's charges. No limits on spirit. Do it boys.

  • Faisal Akhtar on July 12, 2010, 15:45 GMT

    Kamran, Indeed the picture for Pakistan cricket looks a lot more rosy than before. But leaving Younus out seems more than baffling. I am afraid the youngsters will be exposed by the Aussies. Secondly, Kaneria has been less than impressive recently. I dont consider bowling 50 overs and taking 4 wickets a big achievement. It is time to try Ajmal at the test level as Afridi and Ajmal can give Pakistan an off-spin, leg-spin option bringing more variety to the attack. The Key to beating Australia has always been to PLAY POSITIVE CRICKET. Unlike Mohd. Yousuf's wait and see approach, Pakistan will have to take the bull by it's horns and dictate terms. It will be survival of the fittest.

  • Rashid on July 12, 2010, 15:42 GMT

    Well, where ever i see people are saying that lot of youngster are there in the team, yes we are going to miss Yousuf but he is 5 how long he will stay in the team, Younis i personally never liked him as he wants to be next Imran khan and have total control over the team, nobody in pakistan can achive this at present IMRAN was a legend. Youngster are the way to guy try out the guys yes they are very young so was tendulkar when he started. This tour we might not win but this tour might be remembered when pakistan started a new journey so lets begin.

    Most of the people might not agree, but its time to have new blood in pakistan with afridi as captain i see them succeed as afridi boom boom never gives up :)

  • Abdul Aleem on July 12, 2010, 15:37 GMT

    Pakistan will have to play exceptionally well to win. Either Akmal shall have to come up with huge hundred, preferably a double or Amer/Asif shall have to come up with 6for or 7fors..!! We need to beleive in ourselves and try to come out of "mediocrity" or "also ran" mould...To beat Aussies in tests one needs to be at his best and nothing short......

  • adil khan on July 12, 2010, 15:36 GMT

    i had a dream that pakistan are all out 117 and aussis were 56-4 and my wife woke me up, i also think that fawad alam shud be @ no 3 in tests instead of shoiab malik.

  • Yusaf Khan on July 12, 2010, 15:35 GMT

    Can someone please explain to me why Younis Khan has been excluded from this team? He wasn't part of the NZ/AUS test tour (only playing in the one dayers) so can't blame him for the test defeats. Also, on the infighting front; it was against him that the players rebelled, led by Shoaib Malik (who is back in the side). Seems the only reason Younis has been excluded is because he asked for justice from the PCB; he wanted to go to court to clear his name. That must be a crime in Ijaz Butt's demented mind. He is obviously more familiar with clearing ones name using the NRO. Going about it the right way is beyond his below mediocre capacity. Shame on you Ijaz Butt and the PCB for putting yourself above Pakistan's interests.

  • Muhammad Khan on July 12, 2010, 15:32 GMT

    " The only limit on the spirit on a cricket field for a Pakistani team is self imposed,,," Very well said Kamran.

  • shaukat Khattak on July 12, 2010, 15:29 GMT

    I still cannot believe that Younis Khan has not been selected just because he is an honorable man where as dubious characters like Shuaib Malik and Kamran Akmal are in the team. This can happen only in Pakistan and under the leadership of a retard like Ijaz Butt.

  • Tariq Butt on July 12, 2010, 15:26 GMT

    Too right Kamran, I gets up during the nights, when I think about this "TEST BATTING LINEUP" which is very very thin, I got this horrible feeling that in more of these tests innings, they gonna get out under 100 and if this happened, this will ruin the sprit and good work done in t20's. They are kidding to themselves, if they think they can take on the Aussie and English bowling attacks in Tests in England, hoping for miracles is not the lucury we afford as for the bowling is concern, yes it is good but not exeptional,, mind that the Gul and Kaneria are not very good test bowlers and bowling reserves are very thin but good luck to Pak Team anyway.

  • Rizwan Ghaury on July 12, 2010, 15:25 GMT

    I think Pakistan should be giving a chance to Yasir Hameed for these two test matches because he atleast acquire some test experience as compare to Umar Amin and Azhar Ali, we all are well aware of his batting where he has scored 2 test hundreds and few fifties as well, he could be a better partner for Salman Butt as compare to Mr. Farhat, I don't know what is the problem with our selection commetti they were stcked to Misbah all the time during One Dayers and T20s in the recent past at which he was not really required and where he could be useful to bat in Test against hilfenhaus / smith / johnson board get on to him and throw him out. God bless Pakistan. I think Australia will win 1-0.

  • Zikria Adil on July 12, 2010, 15:22 GMT

    I am from India, what I see the present Pakistan team is much more confident then the previous team under the captaincy of Mohamad Yousuf (Mohamed Yousuf off-course a very good proven batsmen). I think this coming two test matches will not be an easy cake for Australia too. Pakistan under the captaincy of Afridi they have talent, aggression, hunger & passion, etc which are most important to win a game.

    Their only problem is lack of experience, which they will come up under the guidance of Waqar Younis & Ejaz Ahmed. Australians try to damage the spirit of the young talented buds by aggression, bad words etc, also Pakistan have had a habit in recent years of gifting wickets to Australian bowlers.

    If they come up with the above problems I am sure they will win easily one test atleast.

  • Waseem on July 12, 2010, 15:18 GMT

    Kamran, please change your picture first man.

  • Waseem Sarwar on July 12, 2010, 15:17 GMT

    I think it will be between Aussie batting and Pakistani bowling. Pakistan's batting looks thin while People like Johnson and Smith can't match Warne and Glen so chance and hope but real thing is effort and i hope Pakistan will give it a go and may push Aussies all the way.

  • Javed (from Toronto) on July 12, 2010, 15:15 GMT

    Bring it on. Let the bells toll 11.00. Let’s do it boys, let’s do it. The future is waiting for you. The "real" Cricket is waiting for you. You are not only playing against the mother of cricket but the father too, in the motherland of cricket.

    We will rise from the ashes, rise we will. Insha-Allah.

    Don’t look back, look forward to the future. The days of Younis and Yousuf are over.

  • Naim Khan on July 12, 2010, 15:13 GMT

    Not much more to say Kamran. Two words come to mind: 'Bated Breath'! Not long to go till tomorrow.

  • Nadeem on July 12, 2010, 15:00 GMT

    I agree PCB has been unfair with Younis. I think its right time for young guns (like Umar Amin, Umar Akmal) to showcase their talent. It cannot get bigger than this, Lords test and Australia as your opponent. This should provide enough inspiration to get the best out of each player. Glory is up for grabs. Lets see if these young Pakistanis have it in them to make it big

  • atif yousuf on July 12, 2010, 14:57 GMT

    Great article. I couldn't have summarized it better. Pakistan's biggest hope will be the opening pair, particularly the form of Salman Butt. Only if he has an outstanding series will pakistan be able to negotiate the new swinging ball. If that happens then maybe we might be able to give the young middle order a chance . My suggestion is to play kamran akmal as a specialist batsman along with Salman Butt. If Kamran can adopt a style of Virender sehwag ( best defense is attack ) , then maybe we might have a solid opening pair.

  • ratee on July 12, 2010, 14:50 GMT

    Danish Kaneria has always proved he is the finest spinner Pakistan has proved so I do not understand what he has to prove more. When 4 catches are dropped of him by the Mr Akmal the wicket keeper what can he do to prove his credentials to skeptics like you?

  • Azam Khan on July 12, 2010, 14:48 GMT

    Kaamran sahab, only 2 thing Pakistan had to look into one fielding and other is bating, we lost many series due to bad keeping behind the stumps. and in slip cordon.

  • Vedant on July 12, 2010, 14:42 GMT

    "Only limits on spirit on a cricket field are self imposed." - WELL SAID

  • abc on July 12, 2010, 14:41 GMT

    Butt is finally delivering something near consistency. Malik has to play at 3 to provide the experience and some offspin. umar 5, afridi 6 kamran 7... 1 and 4 are your experimental positions ... it wont matter much who fills them ... it'l be do or die for the poor chap!

  • Omer on July 12, 2010, 14:37 GMT

    Younis at 3 would have done made thing sslightly better for Pakistan but I guess playing a debutaant at 3 will just ruin his career for all, don't thnk Umer Amin or Azhar Ali would be able to cope with swing and pace of Ausi's...The should get Younis back as soon as possible if they wanna have any pride during this English summer. All have been talking abt lethal atttack but earlier this year they only bowled out Aus twice in six attempts so I guess alot need to be desired and esp Umar Gul needs to prove a point or two in test cricket!!

    I can't see Pakistan scoring more than 300 in both innings of a test match and thats the main worry so unless some miracle happens or they call Younis back, its 6-0 and yea rain can always make it 5-0.

  • Faisal Jaan on July 12, 2010, 14:29 GMT

    Dear Kamran bhai, MoYo and YK are big losses but why was Fawad Alam not selected for the tour? He is never a good T20 player but well suited for tests. He averages more than 56 in first class. Other selection choices are also poor. Without any doubt, Mr Ejaz Butt is the worst Chairman we ever got. Truly, he is a buffoon who has to do with every matter.

  • Abbas on July 12, 2010, 14:28 GMT

    WE WILL ONLY WIN if we cal Saqlain Mushtaq back... wat a legend he was... my fav all-tym cricketer who is only 33 yrs old(which is nofing 4 a spinner)

  • Taha on July 12, 2010, 14:23 GMT

    As a keen supporter of Pakistan, I am praying that they do well, however one must not forget that an inexperienced Pakistan side is up against a strong Australian side. I am against playing both amin and azhar ali as however talented they may be they have never faced bowling of this quality and played in such conditions. I think umar akmal will be the matchwineer for Pakistan as apart from him the batting line-up does not inspire confidence.

  • Tariq Aziz on July 12, 2010, 14:21 GMT

    well written article,but the beauty of this game is the uncertainity tag attached to it.On a day a hero can rise and sudden emergence of heros has been the story of Pakistan cricket in the past.Though the stata are not favouring Pakistan right now!but i still have this feelings that can still give the opposition a run for their money.

  • Sriram on July 12, 2010, 14:19 GMT

    Its strange that the home team has no home advantage as far as conditions are concerened. Its true that Pak seamers are handful in such conditions, but if its that true, then England should have hardly won against Pak in home. Aussies weakness against swing bowling can only hold good if Pak batsman put equal effort against quality seam bowling. Nevertheless amidst some boring encounters such as WI vs SA or Ind vs SL, it would be worth watching Aamer taking on Ponting..Good Luck Pakistan from your brother in India..

  • Waqar on July 12, 2010, 14:16 GMT

    To be frank....Pakistani batting line up cant handle the swing n face....they cant even score over 200...its gona be AUS again..sorry to say

  • Sunil D'Souza on July 12, 2010, 13:41 GMT

    Yes the Aussies will start as favourutes,but this Pakistann team does have the firepower ,"on the field" to counter the Aussie challenge.I hope the great Waqar and his team can keep the dissensions if any under control.I also hope that this series is remembered for Shoaib Akhtars swansong,and the talent of the gifted Umar Akmal.Hopefully also,cricket should return to Pakistan.

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  • Sunil D'Souza on July 12, 2010, 13:41 GMT

    Yes the Aussies will start as favourutes,but this Pakistann team does have the firepower ,"on the field" to counter the Aussie challenge.I hope the great Waqar and his team can keep the dissensions if any under control.I also hope that this series is remembered for Shoaib Akhtars swansong,and the talent of the gifted Umar Akmal.Hopefully also,cricket should return to Pakistan.

  • Waqar on July 12, 2010, 14:16 GMT

    To be frank....Pakistani batting line up cant handle the swing n face....they cant even score over 200...its gona be AUS again..sorry to say

  • Sriram on July 12, 2010, 14:19 GMT

    Its strange that the home team has no home advantage as far as conditions are concerened. Its true that Pak seamers are handful in such conditions, but if its that true, then England should have hardly won against Pak in home. Aussies weakness against swing bowling can only hold good if Pak batsman put equal effort against quality seam bowling. Nevertheless amidst some boring encounters such as WI vs SA or Ind vs SL, it would be worth watching Aamer taking on Ponting..Good Luck Pakistan from your brother in India..

  • Tariq Aziz on July 12, 2010, 14:21 GMT

    well written article,but the beauty of this game is the uncertainity tag attached to it.On a day a hero can rise and sudden emergence of heros has been the story of Pakistan cricket in the past.Though the stata are not favouring Pakistan right now!but i still have this feelings that can still give the opposition a run for their money.

  • Taha on July 12, 2010, 14:23 GMT

    As a keen supporter of Pakistan, I am praying that they do well, however one must not forget that an inexperienced Pakistan side is up against a strong Australian side. I am against playing both amin and azhar ali as however talented they may be they have never faced bowling of this quality and played in such conditions. I think umar akmal will be the matchwineer for Pakistan as apart from him the batting line-up does not inspire confidence.

  • Abbas on July 12, 2010, 14:28 GMT

    WE WILL ONLY WIN if we cal Saqlain Mushtaq back... wat a legend he was... my fav all-tym cricketer who is only 33 yrs old(which is nofing 4 a spinner)

  • Faisal Jaan on July 12, 2010, 14:29 GMT

    Dear Kamran bhai, MoYo and YK are big losses but why was Fawad Alam not selected for the tour? He is never a good T20 player but well suited for tests. He averages more than 56 in first class. Other selection choices are also poor. Without any doubt, Mr Ejaz Butt is the worst Chairman we ever got. Truly, he is a buffoon who has to do with every matter.

  • Omer on July 12, 2010, 14:37 GMT

    Younis at 3 would have done made thing sslightly better for Pakistan but I guess playing a debutaant at 3 will just ruin his career for all, don't thnk Umer Amin or Azhar Ali would be able to cope with swing and pace of Ausi's...The should get Younis back as soon as possible if they wanna have any pride during this English summer. All have been talking abt lethal atttack but earlier this year they only bowled out Aus twice in six attempts so I guess alot need to be desired and esp Umar Gul needs to prove a point or two in test cricket!!

    I can't see Pakistan scoring more than 300 in both innings of a test match and thats the main worry so unless some miracle happens or they call Younis back, its 6-0 and yea rain can always make it 5-0.

  • abc on July 12, 2010, 14:41 GMT

    Butt is finally delivering something near consistency. Malik has to play at 3 to provide the experience and some offspin. umar 5, afridi 6 kamran 7... 1 and 4 are your experimental positions ... it wont matter much who fills them ... it'l be do or die for the poor chap!

  • Vedant on July 12, 2010, 14:42 GMT

    "Only limits on spirit on a cricket field are self imposed." - WELL SAID