London, Aug 4 (IANS) Pakistan Test captain Azhar Ali said that the players are raring to go after their long break enforced by the coronavirus pandemic. Pakistan take on England in a three-match Test series starting on Wednesday. This will be followed by a three-match T20I series and the team has been in the country since late June.
“All players are excited to play the series. COVID-19 is there and for the moment we have to carry on with it,” Azhar told reporters on the eve of the first Test which will be played at Old Trafford.
“We are lucky that we will be playing cricket which is what we love the most. A lot of talk is going on about cricket happening in these tough times but I feel that the best thing is that we wanted to play and we are now getting to that. Credit to ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) and PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) for arranging this series.
“We have prepared very well with whatever facilities we had with us and ensured that no player gets left behind and gets frustrated. We enjoyed the camp a lot.”
Azhar said the team is motivated by their Test performances in recent years in England. Pakistan have not lost a Test series in England since 2010.
“Challenges is something you have to take as a cricketer and England tours are always difficult with or without Covid. But we have performed well in our last few series here and that is a big source of motivation. We will be looking to repeat and upstage that,” he said.
The 35-year-old admitted that the visitors' pace battery may be inexperienced but is confident of them performing well considering the talent that they have.
“Our fast bowing attack is inexperienced but you have seen their talent and how they have bowled in the last few series. I think of myself as very lucky as a captain that we got bowlers like these who can threaten any team in Test cricket. You can't buy experience, that comes with playing matches but there is a lot of capability there.
“Our batting experience is better. There is Shan Masood, Asad Shafiq and I have all played a lot. Babar Azam has gained a lot of experience now. As a team our combination is pretty good.”