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Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed believes that his side are capable of beating England in the first Test at Lord’s as the hosts have struggled in the longest format as of late.
Sarfraz admitted that Pakistan will take advantage of the fact that England endured a disastrous winter, where they lost 4-0 to Australia in the Ashes and 1-0 to New Zealand in the two-Test series that followed.
“If you see England’s last four months they are not good for them,” Sarfraz was quoted as saying by Firstpost. “They lost the Ashes in Australia and did not have a good time in New Zealand. I think as captain I see England, at the moment, being less confident as a team so as a team we will try to take advantage and try to perform well.”
While Pakistan are considered the underdogs going into the series due to their inexperienced squad, Sarfraz revealed that he told his side to stay calm and perform to the best of their abilities.
“They (England) have experienced players but I have told my players not to get worried about that,” he said. “Take it as a domestic match, the way you have got into the team after performing well in domestic matches, play without fear and play your best game.
“The worse will be that we lose this match, but this is a young team, seven of our players will be playing at Lord’s for the first time, so that in itself an honour.
“If these youngsters do well here and gain confidence then it will be good for their future and for the Pakistan team.”
However, Sarfraz conceded that the senior players in the team will have to lead by example throughout the two-Test series.
“Yes, the senior players in the team have to show responsibility,” he said. “We have to lead from the front, we have more responsibility to give a good platform so that the new players take it from there.”
Meanwhile, Sarfraz also admitted that he has been highly impressed with opener Imam-ul-Haq’s performance with the bat.
Not only did he make 61 and 59 not out in the warm-up matches against Kent and Northamptonshire, but he also scored a game-winning 74 not out on debut in the historic Test match against Ireland.
“I am very pleased the way he is playing, especially in the second innings (in Dublin),” Sarfraz said. “It’s not easy for a youngster playing his first Test, it was a crucial knock of 74 runs and as a captain I am very confident he will continue performing well like that.”