Pakistan v England 2011-12 December 8, 2011

England will be 'real test' - Afridi


Shahid Afridi is expecting England to be a "real test" for Pakistan when they arrive in UAE next month although Pakistan's recent form against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will leave them in good heart ahead of the opening Test in Dubai on January 17.

On the eve of their Test series against Bangladesh, Pakistan have won every trophy that has been available to them since sharing the Tests against West Indies, in the Caribbean, last May. However, that has included success against lower-ranked opponents including Ireland, Zimbabwe and now a struggling Bangladesh.

Afridi won't be part of the Test team having retired from the format but is back as a key member of the limited-overs outfits and is aware that the visit of England will be step up from their recent opposition. England are ranked No. 1 in both Tests and Twenty20 although remain mid-table in 50-over cricket following their 5-0 whitewash against India.

"Winning (throughout the year) gave us a momentum and moral is high," Afridi told reporters at airport on his return from Dhaka. "We have developed a winning unit but it will be exciting when we face England and that would be a real test. Playing against team like England or Australia is very exciting and then we will see where we stand."

Intikhab Alam, the former Pakistan coach, also believes the winning momentum will serve Pakistan well. "We are coming in with a lot of victories under our belt and every player is laden with confidence," Alam told ESPNcricinfo. "But we have to be wary about our upcoming series against England. We definitely need to work harder in various departments."

Spin-bowling is likely to play a major role in the series and Pakistan are well stocked in that department with Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman and Mohammad Hafeez having all made an impact in recent months.

"We have two outstanding spinners and that's could make a clear difference. With the bowling unit we can bowl out any team in the world twice," Alam said. "But I again insist that fitness and fielding are the vital aspect and you can't even afford to miss the half chances against a team like England. We are not a bad side if we make an analysis between our players and theirs we have got fair chance of beating them."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on December 10, 2011, 19:57 GMT

    @DARKLORD91 on (December 09 2011, 15:49 PM GMT) - You forget or don't knnow about the tour where Gatting had a huge spat with the umpires etc - think it was 87. Agree with the rest of your points

  • Dummy4 on December 10, 2011, 11:05 GMT

    English team is a pretty tough side and truly a real test for Paki Tigers. Pakistan is required to do well in fielding and batting simultaneously, moreover balling is almost too much strong to resist any team in the world as the Asian environment is also not suitable for Englishes. The key factor is that, if we click in fielding and a bit in batting then English team will be check-mated by the Urdu one

  • Dummy4 on December 10, 2011, 10:42 GMT

    This will be a home series for Pakistan so advantage is always with Pakistan as they can make the pitches with their strengths. I am expecting the results to be in a favour of Pakistan because of 3 world class spinner and wonderful Captain ship by Misbah. 2011 was excellent for Pakistan. They recently beat Sri Lanka on the same tracks so they've already done the homework. Afridi comeback has also increased their chances in One dayer's and Twenti20. I think this be a great chance for Pakistan to improve their ICC rankings in all formats.

  • ali on December 10, 2011, 8:18 GMT

    Salam to all. Guys dont make illogical @ unreasonable comments ilke "surely pak will win Test series" and so on. one thing is pretty sure that England is favourite to win the Test Series. Reasons are.... Eng is best Test batting side... with a solid bowlng attack which consists both Fast & spin. on the other hand Pak still has a rather weak batting lineup.... As for the spin bowling is concerned... in Tests we only have Saeed Ajmal... Abdul Rahman aint got no skills.... and even Saeed Ajmal still gotto prove his masterness at Test level against qualty batting sides... for example he was not impressive against SA in 2010, 2 match Test Fast bowling, pak need someone after amir n asif . Danish keneria must be included... Abdulrahman bowling against Pietereson and Trot would be a joke....

  • John on December 9, 2011, 21:49 GMT

    @Sinhaya on (December 08 2011, 15:55 PM GMT) - Good well balanced post there without the hint of bias and lack of class

  • John on December 9, 2011, 18:50 GMT

    @Posted by rahulcricket007 on (December 08 2011, 16:56 PM GMT) - You were saying loads of stuff about India beating England in the summer test series , and then after the first or 2nd test how Sehwag would turn the series around. After that your comms seemed to fizzle out. It may be best to wait til the series is done before you start on the gloating/sniping path. Just in case England fluke another series

  • khurram on December 9, 2011, 15:53 GMT

    Pakistan is doing well in recent series. Pakistan spinners are best in their business and so far as fast bowling is concerned it is also good. Umer gull is a fine bowler. Aizaz chema, Muhammad talha and muhammad Khalil is a good inclusion in the squad.

  • MUNEEB on December 9, 2011, 15:49 GMT

    england and pakistan have always enjoyed relations in cricket xcept the last tour ..........but the thats history...if we compare the bowling line-ups england will have edge over pakistan in fast bowling department.but pakistan have a decent fast bowling attack and a much superior bowling attack...........batting line-up of pakistan is pretty stable and can match the indians.......MY WISH IS WE PLAY GOOD CRICKET .MAY THE BEST TEAM WIN .......AND LET CRICKET BE THE END WINNER

  • khurram on December 9, 2011, 15:46 GMT

    That will be a nice and sensational series. Best of luck to Pakistan team. Hope Pakistan will perform well against england

  • adnan on December 9, 2011, 15:21 GMT

    Pakistan must call back Yasir Hameed and Muhammad Yousuf in test series against England in UAE tour to make there batting line strong and must pick sadaf hussain as a left arm fast bowler because english batsman are not much confident facing left arm seamers

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