Pakistan only have levelled the Test series 2-2, but they are on a roll — what they have achieved hasn’t been done by their Asian counterparts who still have the luxury of hosting matches at home.
However, one-day cricket is a different ball game and many of the performers from the Test series are on their way back home, or away from the squad.
Let’s analyze the positives and negatives of the squad and the chances in the limited overs series against England.
The Rhythm is It — Positive
Yasir Shah is back in the ODI squad after serving a suspension and Sami Aslam gets rewarded for his brilliant performance in the last two Tests. They managed to win the last Test of the series and are in the rhythm of doing the impossible.
No Seniors To Fall Back On — Negative
One must wish Azhar Ali all the luck for the series because he will be without the senior players who got the job done in near-impossible situations. Test skipper Misbah ul Haq no longer plays ODIs. Younis Khan isn’t considered due to his low scores in the format. That’s the biggest drawback ahead of the ODIs for the young team but coach Micky Arthur is confident that the ODI boys will emulate the Test team.
The young guns will have to step up in the series and win it because if they want to be in the top-eight bracket, they will have to double their efforts.
Conditions No More Alien — Positive
The conditions of England are no more alien for the Pakistan side as they played four Tests and a handful of side matches to get accustomed to the environment. If the fresh blood doesn’t do well, we can always recall Mohammad Hafeez who must be tried in the mid of the series, not in the earlier matches as it was his absence that managed to help Pakistan team click.
Yes, he isn’t in the best of forms, he drops more catches than he holds on to and is reluctant to bowl in international matches, but it’s a different ball game, altogether.
Absence of Quality All-rounder — Negative
Gone are the days when Pakistan were able to make a match out of every encounter with the help of Abdur Razzaq or Azhar Mahmood who could bat as well as bowl. Shahid Afridi carried their legacy forward and so did Mohammad Hafeez but now one is out of favour, the other is out of luck. Mohammad Nawaz and Imad Wasim might be the answer to Pakistan’s problems but only if they get to play consistently and on the positions they are fit for.
England have many cricketers who have been performing dual roles and that’s where they might have the edge.
Return of the Veterans — Positive & Negative
All-rounder Shoaib Malik’s return might be a good thing for the side but the same can’t be said of Umar Gul. He hasn’t been the same bowler since his return from injury and that could harm Pakistan’s chances in the limited overs games. Let’s hope that the two veterans do something memorable on what can be termed their last tour to England.