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Eng vs Pak: Feel very lucky to have Shah, Afridi in squad, says Azhar Ali

Pakistan Test captain Azhar Ali lauds bowlers ahead of Test series against England and stated he is lucky to have young pacers like Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah in the line-up

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England vs Pakistan | Pakistan cricket team | ICC World Test Championship

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Pakistan pacer Naseem Shah poses with ball and man of the match trophy during the presentation ceremony after the end of 1st test cricket match between Pakistan an Bangladesh at Rawalpindi cricket stadium in Rawalpindi. Photo: AP | PTI
Pakistan pacer Naseem Shah poses with ball and man of the match trophy during the presentation ceremony after the end of 1st test cricket match between Pakistan an Bangladesh at Rawalpindi cricket stadium in Rawalpindi. Photo: AP | PTI

Pakistan Test captain Azhar Ali on Thursday lauded bowlers ahead of their series against England and stated he is lucky to have young pacers like Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah in the line-up.

20-year-old Afridi and 17-year-old Shah are on their maiden tour of England and Pakistan have pinned their hopes on the duo's young shoulders to trouble the high-profile batting line-up of the hosts.

"The way Naseem and Shaheen have bowled in recent series, I as captain feel very lucky to have them in my squad," Ali said during a PCB podcast as per Cricket Pakistan.

"The best thing is that we have experience in the shape of Abbas. Sohail Khan is also on this tour and he is also sharing his experience with the players.

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"I think our bowlers will get a lot of advantage. Yasir Shah is there as well who has ample experience. He is a leg-spinner and his guidance for young players is also very important," he added.

This will be Pakistan's first series after coronavirus stoppage while England will be coming into the series after registering a thrilling 2-1 series win over West Indies in the #raisethebat series.

Ali played down any concerns with respect to lack of proper match practice for the visitors ahead of the series. He stated that players are slowly and steadily regaining their rhythm and will be ready when the series begins.

"Sometimes you score runs and sometimes you don't. Our players however seem to be in good touch. The balance of the side is also very good. Pakistan always performs well in England," the 35-year-old said.

"Because of coronavirus we have been in lockdown for quite some time. This has been a challenging experience and in the start the players did seem a little rusty in camps especially in terms of bowling.

"Slowly but surely, we are getting better with training and the players are recovering their form. The workload for the fast-bowlers has been good," he added.

The first Test between the two teams will be played in Manchester starting August 5 while the final two Tests are scheduled to be played in Southampton from August 13 and August 21 respectively.

First Published: Thu, July 30 2020. 21:26 IST