Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq are ‘big match’ players – Mickey Arthur

Azhar Ali doesn’t have runs on this tour however is Pakistan’s greatest-performing Take a look at batsman within the final two years. Asad Shafiq has runs on the tour however is amongst Pakistan’s poorer performing Take a look at specialists. Mickey Arthur just isn’t fearful about both of them.

Half the purpose of the latter finish of the MisYou period was to make sure that Azhar and Shafiq can be groomed and able to take over as soon as the senior pair departed. It hasn’t labored out fairly as easily as that, although there’s hardly a pattern to go on.

Two years in the past when the pair arrived at Lord’s, their profession averages had been an identical: 43.37 for Azhar and 43.28 for Shafiq. Since then Azhar has bloomed the place Shafiq has shriveled; Azhar now averages 45.84 and Shafiq 39.53.

However on this tour, again as much as opening, Azhar has struggled for runs. He scored 73 in opposition to a weak Leicestershire assault, following a run of 15, 9, 10, four and 2. Shafiq has an enormous hundred in opposition to Northamptonshire and a 62 in Malahide, however an extended-time period lean run means there needs to be some concern because the pair resist their sternest assessments this summer time.

Not so. “I am by no means fearful by them,” Arthur mentioned. “They are high quality players, their information converse for themselves. They have superb Take a look at information. They roll up, they are massive-match players, they’re wonderful and they are all batting rather well for the time being.”

That final assertion doesn’t essentially stack as much as the proof of most eyes and a tricky previous nets session on Tuesday at Lord’s could be taken each methods: that it was good apply forward of the Take a look at, or that it was additional proof of the rut they are in.

Ever the optimist, Arthur took the previous. “They are getting caught in. Nets had been difficult immediately which was good however the guys caught it out rather well. I am assured they’re going to ship for us.”

These considerations could possibly be compounded by a nasty knock Babar Azam took on his proper hand going through as much as Rahat Ali, one in every of a number of Pakistan’s batsmen took on apply surfaces with slightly mischief in them. It pressured him out of the session for some time although Pakistan stay are not involved that it might impression his participation come Thursday.

The one different wrinkle for Pakistan to resolve might be choosing one in every of Rahat or Hasan Ali. After Rahat’s colourless return to the Pakistan facet in opposition to Eire, Hasan was anticipated to be a shoo-in.

However Hasan picked up a minor harm to his bowling hand within the facet recreation in opposition to Leicestershire and didn’t bowl on Tuesday. The administration is assured although that he’ll bowl on Wednesday and so be match to begin on Thursday.

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