Pakistan in England 2010 July 27, 2010

Amir and Asif are best in the world - Butt

Cricinfo staff

For the full interview with Salman Butt click here

Salman Butt, the Pakistan captain, has praised his new-ball pair, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, as the best opening duo the world ahead of the Test series against England following their performances which earned a 1-1 draw with Australia.

Although Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, South Africa's quick bowlers, can lay their own claim to be the leading strike force in the game, Pakistan's combination have certainly made a huge impression in recent weeks and will be a major threat when they take on England at Trent Bridge. Asif and Amir shared 22 wickets in the two-Test series against Australia and were both outstanding during Pakistan's three-wicket victory at Headingley, their first win against Australia for 15 years.

Amir has gained praise from former great fast bowlers including Wasim Akram, while Asif has shown tremendous skill in controlling the swing even though he has lost pace in recent years. They have enjoyed bowling in overcast conditions, but are also capable of extracting reverse swing which could play a part against England.

"The way Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Umar Gul bowled was brilliant," Butt told Cricinfo. "Without any doubt I can say that Amir and Asif are the best pair in the world at the moment and Gul with the old ball is the most dangerous because he bowls the best reverse swing that I've played in recent times. I am a lucky person to have such an armoury and they are Pakistan's trump card in Pakistan's successes in the recent past and for a long time in the future."

However, one of the key challenges facing Pakistan is to ensure their pace bowlers remain fit during a demanding schedule which will extend to six Test in six weeks once the England series concludes at the end of August. Although they have reserves in the squad, if either Asif or Amir are unable to play a match it will have a severe impact on Pakistan's chances.

"We will be talking to the bowlers. We have to look after each other," Butt said. "But if somebody is feeling tired, disheartened, or if he feels there is any injury scare he can always come out and speak to me and the seniors. It is not only me, but the seniors and the team management who will sit and decide. It is not only this series but with the World Cup fast approaching we definitely have that, too, at the back of our minds so we will preserve key people but at the same time in the big games - Tests - we need to play our best team and plan accordingly."

Pakistan's bowlers are without doubt their most dangerous asset because the batting remains hugely inexperienced with much resting on Butt himself. Umar Akmal's performances against Australia suggested he has yet to realise the requirements of Test cricket, but Azhar Ali showed promise at No. 3 with a vital 51 during the tense run chase at Headingley.

"He is a wonderful prospect," Butt said. "He plays his cricket in his limits. He knows his shots, his scoring areas. In the four innings so far, three times he got out a very good ball which any good batsman might have found hard to negotiate as well. Azhar is a very good talent and if he can carry on this way he has the ability to stabilise the Pakistan batting. He proved that during the fourth innings at Headingley where he showed great temperament and resolve against the Aussies as well as a good technique in tough conditions.

"But you should not forget Imran Farhat's contribution," Butt added. "He kept the scoring rate high and kept hitting the boundaries at the other end, which helped Azhar to not take pressure. So, full credit to Imran, who built the crucial partnership with Azhar in the run chase."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rumesh on August 2, 2010, 2:16 GMT

    Salman Butt meant to say that Mo Amer is the BEST BATSMEN in this Pakistan side.The proof is 2nd innings against England where Amer was the only batsmen to face 44 balls.Check the scorecard if I am wrong.In his next interview Mr Butt is going honour Kamram Akmal as the best wicketkeeper in the world.

  • Dummy4 on August 1, 2010, 20:55 GMT

    @ALL OF YOU wasim akram called him best than him so you pplz remarks have no vaues...........k..v just need yousaf and younis back..then ve vil....tell dagerous is our side///////////

  • Daniel on August 1, 2010, 20:08 GMT

    If one of the opposing comments were coming from someone not Indian, EVEN ONE!!...I would gladly reconsinder.

  • Hulk on August 1, 2010, 18:10 GMT

    aybe they are best but you can't deny the fact that Pakistani batting line-up are WORST in the world.

  • dj on August 1, 2010, 13:03 GMT


  • dj on August 1, 2010, 13:01 GMT

    Pakistan has the best bowlers ever

  • Dummy4 on August 1, 2010, 12:19 GMT

    and you and all your other batsmen are the world's worst.......

  • khurram on August 1, 2010, 8:01 GMT

    i dont think indian bowling attack is best in world but the most brave one i mean after srilankan hit them all over the park in first test it is the indian bowling attack dared to play again in second test n result was same n hopefully will be same in 3rd test as well woow bravo

  • Dummy4 on July 31, 2010, 9:25 GMT

    Oh Salman Butt, I wish you wouldn't say that and would wait until your team got a good hiding.

  • Dummy4 on July 30, 2010, 18:02 GMT

    Its nice if a captain says about its team ;) But they both are not the best yet proven. Pakistan bowling is admirable but what is the issue with the middle order batting :D team is not only of bowlers... there should be any sachin or kallis in middle order..

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