Pakistan Tour of England 2018 [Preview]
Pakistan tour of Ireland, England and Scotland is going to commence from May 2018. The visitors will be kick-start their tour with two-practice games against Kent and Northamptonshire. The side will first play one-off Test against Ireland. The game is going to be a big one as Ireland will play their debut Test against Pakistan. William Porterfield will lead Ireland in their debut Test to be played on 11th May at Malahide Cricket Club, Dublin.
Pakistan have named their 16-member squad for the tour of Ireland and England. Five uncapped players have picked for the tour as Fakhar Zaman, Faheem Ashraf, Imam-ul-Haq, Saad Ali and Usman Salahuddin will be fighting for a place in the final XI.
Opener Fakhar Zaman has burst onto the scene with a bang after his scorching ton in the ICC Champions Trophy final against arch-rivals India. His superlative batting helped Pakistan clinch their maiden Champions Trophy crown at The Oval, London. Zaman has been a consistent performer for Pakistan in the shorter formats of the game. The pugnacious left-hander will definitely bring something different to the squad as he does like to play his shots.
Saad Ali and Usman Salahuddin are relatively unknown commodities and will be keen to make an impression on their first trip to the UK. Last year, Salahuddin was also part of Pakistan’s Test squad for the home series against Sri Lanka in UAE.
All-rounder Faheem Ashraf has produced decent performances for Pakistan since making his debut in 2017. He has been playing regularly for Pakistan in the shorter formats of the game. Ashraf definitely will provide value with bat and ball and might be a handful in conditions that aid swing bowlers.
Opener Imam-ul-Haq is another option at the top of the innings. Since making his limited overs debut against Sri Lanka, he has shown excellent temperament and technique to quickly cement his place in the lineup. Though his first-class record is not that impressive, he still has the temperament to make a name for himself at the international level.
Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, and Sarfaraz Ahmed are three key players in the batting department. Azhar topped the batting charts for Pakistan in the format in 2017. Shafiq will need to produce consistency with the bat that made him a bankable player in the middle order for Pakistan. Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed will be score valuable runs for the side.
Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali and Mohammad Abbas are three first-choice bowlers for Pakistan. Rahat Ali makes his return to the format after being dropped for the Sri Lanka series in UAE.
After the one-off game against Ireland, Pakistan will play England in a two-match Test series. The side will be hoping to put in a good performance given their historic 2016 tour where they managed to level the four-match series. With the departures of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan, it is not going to be easy as Pakistan will need to bring A-game to the table to eke a positive result against England.
Pakistan will play their first Test against England at Lords on 24th May. The second game of the series will be played at Leeds on 1st June.
The green shirts will then travel to Scotland to play two-match T20 series. The games will be played at Edinburgh on 12th and 13th June.