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Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur has confirmed that he wants opener Azhar Ali and middle-order batsman Asad Shafiq to play county cricket in England.
The duo are on the lookout for deals after featuring in the two-Test series against England, which ended as a 1-1 draw.
Azhar scored 67 runs at an average of 16.75, while Shafiq fared much better as he amassed 91 runs at an average of 30.33.
While no deals have been confirmed yet, it should be noted that Surrey and Somerset are on the hunt for players to replace India skipper Virat Kohli and Australia opener Matt Renshaw respectively.
“[Of] Our chosen players, we’re hoping to get Azhar and Asad to play some county cricket,” Arthur was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz. “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.”
While more will definitely be expected of Azhar and Shafiq going forward, Arthur feels their disappointing performances against England could be due to the fact that they have not played any Test cricket since the series against Sri Lanka in October last year.
“I know Azhar Ali, I know Asad Shafiq, I know their work ethic,” he said. “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.”