ENG v PAK 2018: Azhar and Shafiq could do with county experience, says Mickey Arthur

Mickey Arthur also wants the captain Sarfraz Ahmed to start scoring again.

Azhar Ali struggled despite having the game to excel in England. (AFP)

Form can be a very deep and a glorious study to do in our sport. Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali, when they arrived on this tour of England they were thought to be the mainstays of this young and inexperienced Pakistan batting lineup. Especially after the #MisYu era, the duo was demanded to the job that Misbah-Ul-Haq and Younis Khan did during the last tour of the country. They both had a score for themselves across the two games but struggled overall. You could see from their dismissals, that they aren't really at their best. It can happen to anyone, in any conditions, these two admirable Pakistanis were playing in alien ones at their alienest. 

Their head coach Mickey Arthur, as much as he knows and understands it, wants them to gain some invaluable experience by playing county cricket in England. He foresees how it can be very useful for his side in the future Test assignments. 

Arthur was quoted saying after the game in Headingley that, "[Of] Our chosen players, we're hoping to get Azhar and Asad to play some county cricket, There is a little bit of interest at the moment, for a short period of time. Because those guys don't go to these leagues and stuff; if they were to play county cricket, we'd certainly encourage that."

"I know Azhar Ali, I know Asad Shafiq, I know their work ethic. Everybody knows the standards they have to meet. When they arrive to the team, they will be there physically, mentally and technically because they have to be. That is the criteria we set for them. I'd love to see them do county cricket. It is more time for them playing cricket and that's got to be beneficial to us, I thought Asad played well this tour. Azhar will tell you himself he was a little short this tour. But he is a quality player - Azhar playing well is in the top 10 Test batsmen in the world." 

What Mickey Arthur is also disappointed about, is the batting form of his captain. Sarfraz has been safe with the gloves and mostly sound with his tactics as a leader but Arthur knows his batting form is a worry. 

"Sarfraz has been disappointing this tour and he knows that I'm talking only with the bat - his keeping has been very good in the last two Tests. I'm very comfortable and I know he'll come right. What he needs to work out is the balance between keeping, batting [at number 6] six and captaincy. That's got to be his challenge going forward. I know he can handle that. He's determined, he's very passionate about this team and he's a skilled batsman. Hopefully, runs are around the corner for him."

(Inputs from Cricbuzz)


By Kashish Chadha - 05 Jun, 2018

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