Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Abu Dhabi

Misbah wary of rusty Sri Lanka

Umar Farooq in Abu Dhabi

December 30, 2013

Comments: 10 | Text size: A | A

Misbah-ul-Haq looks on during a press conference, Abu Dhabi, December 30, 2013
Misbah-ul-Haq backed his bowlers to challenge Sri Lanka © AFP
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Pakistan's captain Misbah-ul-Haq has said his team will not be complacent even though they are more in touch with the demands of Test cricket than their opponents Sri Lanka have been of late. Pakistan played South Africa in a 1-1 draw in the UAE in October, while Sri Lanka has not had a Test since March.

"We are in good shape and we are confident but we aren't going to be complacent," Misbah said on the eve of the first Test. "Every game is a new game and you can't just sit and think we are good so it's easy. But it's not the case, we need to put things right in every game and still have to get the basics rights.

"Sri Lanka are a top side and competitive one to play with, so you need to be at your best to do well against them. We have bowlers who can really challenge the opposition and I am confident we going to put good show."

Pakistan have played Sri Lanka in 11 of their 42 Tests in the last five years, the most against any country, and Misbah said the familiarity between the teams posed a challenge. The teams last played against each other in June-July 2012, in Sri Lanka "Sometime it isn't easy for the players," Misbah said. "When you play regularly against each other it's difficult to find weakness and find new ideas, but it's fine. As far as we are playing cricket, it's good.

"What is important is to play Test cricket regularly, whoever the opposition is. At least your players are getting exposure and they get the taste of this form of the game, even if you play excessively against same opponent, it eventually is beneficial."

Pakistan recalled Mohammad Hafeez to the squad for the Tests after he scored three centuries in the ODIs. Misbah didn't say specifically that Hafeez would play, but it is understood he will replace Azhar Ali in the XI. "When your all batsmen are in form then it's difficult to choose one. But it's better to have more choices of in-form players. So that you can pick the better option for the team according to the opposition's form and strength."

There was uncertainty over whether fast bowler Umar Gul, who was included in the Test squad after recovering from injury, would play. Former coach Waqar Younis had objected to his selection in the squad. Misbah was non-committal. "I can't say much on this but we are looking closely how it goes. He [Gul] is in good form, played two four-day games back home and played ODI as well. So it's a call that we are going to take tomorrow before the final look at the pitch."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here

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Posted by   on (January 2, 2014, 9:02 GMT)

Its good Ahmad Shehzad getting chance in test cricket. This will definately nurture him as an opener for all types of game. He has the talent.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2013, 1:35 GMT)

Hard to understand why Sohaib Maqsood isn't given a chance to bloom.

Posted by Guduji71 on (December 31, 2013, 0:22 GMT)

Pak should give consistent chances to openers to get the best out of them. Pak should invest in young players and should not select Hafeez even though he is in good form the problem is he will fail again on bouncy pitches and against swinging balls. I would select Azhar Ali or Shehazd over Hafeez. Pak should also select Talha over Gul in bowling.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2013, 0:04 GMT)

I personally think Pak management should give Maqsood a chance and let Shehzad open in tests as well.. we saw in ODIs that his defense is as solid as Younus and Misbah. dont even think about leaving Rehman behibd. he bowled brilliantly in last ODI..

Posted by dmqi on (December 30, 2013, 22:33 GMT)

Gul is very inconsistent. Maqsood and Anwar ali are two players who are promising. I hope they are given fair share to build a team for the future.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2013, 21:01 GMT)

My XI for today:

Khurram Manzoor, Ahmed Shehzad, Younis Khan, Misbah Ul Haq, Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Hafeez, Adnan Akmal, Abdul Rehman, Saeed Ajmal, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Talha.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2013, 18:17 GMT)

My XI for 1st test: 1. Shehzad, 2. Manzoor, 3. Azhar, 4. Yunus, 5. Misbah, 6.Shafiq, 7. Akmal (w/k), 8. Rehman, 9. Gul, 10. Ajmal, 11. Junaid. The only weak link in this XI is Akmal who would not have been my choice as wicket keeper. I would have preferred Sarfraz Ahmed as my view is that he is a better wicket keeper / batsman.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2013, 16:32 GMT)

I think pakistan should give umar gul chance in first match. its important to win first match and with a relatively young batting side, cant afford experimentation in bowling in the first game

Posted by rsiddiqi on (December 30, 2013, 16:12 GMT)

Oh Waqar...why always so critical. Yes, Umar Gul hasnt played test matches in a long time but he has been playing regular domestic cricket since his comeback from the injury and he did fairly well in the ODIs. Would like to also see Mohammad Talha bowl...

Posted by shanazpk on (December 30, 2013, 15:52 GMT)

tomarrows 11 should b masood,shahzad,hafeez,younis,misbah,shafiq,adnan,rehman,ajmal,tallah,junid ----still there r 4 weaklinks in this 11 in masood,shahzad,shafiq and adnan

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