Mohsin Khan, Pakistan's interim coach, has said that his team's series against England in the UAE will be more than just a battle between spinners. He also said Pakistan had enough talent to make up for the advantage England have in terms of experience and team balance.
"It won't be a battle between spinners only, because both teams have a good spin and pace attack," Mohsin said on the first day of Pakistan's camp in Lahore. "I can say proudly that Saeed Ajmal is probably the best offspinner in the world. We have Abdur Rehman, and [Mohammad] Hafeez plays an important role. They have Swann, and Panesar is also there. But the pressure, I feel, is on batsmen from both the sides."
Pakistan's Test players began a four-day training camp at the Gaddafi Stadium ahead of the three Tests against England. "The basic aim of organising the camp is to bring the boys back into rhythm as we have a very important series ahead of us," Mohsin said. "The players were given a brief rest after the tour of Bangladesh because we have been playing cricket consistently." Pakistan had only a three-day gap between the series against Sri Lanka in the UAE and the tour of Bangladesh, which ended on December 21.
Pakistan have ample experience of conditions in the UAE, which has become a successful offshore venue for them after the suspension of international cricket in Pakistan because of the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore. England, who are coming off a long break from international cricket, will warm up for the series with two practice matches before the first Test in Dubai on January 17.
"We know we have tough opposition," Mohsin said. "They [England] are the No. 1 ranked team in the world. I must admit the balance of the England team is very good - their pace attack, their spin attack, their batting order is very good and experienced one. We don't have an experienced combination like they do. But I must say our team is very talented and the captain [Misbah-ul-Haq] is very sensible. We do have a good pace and spin attack, and depth in the batting order."
Pakistan had a successful 2011 but Mohsin said the team would not be complacent and would play positive cricket according to the situation. "Aggressiveness and safety is planned according to the conditions. You go game to game, especially in Test matches. There are three sessions in one day and I break it in three pieces. So my basic purpose is to play positive cricket in each session and every player has to give 100%. Whether it's England or any other team, we will go for a win."