Watch the third Test between England and Pakistan live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10.30am on Friday
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 20/08/20 5:32pm
Pakistan are set to unleash young, fast-bowling duo Naseem Shah and Shaheen Afridi on England once again, with captain Azhar Ali insisting they will only benefit from continued exposure.
The pair are among the most exciting up-and-coming quicks in world cricket but, heading into Friday’s decisive third Test, they have taken fewer wickets than seasoned veterans Stuart Broad (10), Mohammad Abbas (5), Chris Woakes (5) and James Anderson (4).
England vs Pakistan
August 21, 2020, 10:30am
Naseem has two wickets at an average of 49.50 apiece, with Shaheen’s three costing 45.66. That is not quite a fair reflection of their efforts thus far and Azhar has no doubts that the pair are only getting better.
“They are exciting characters but you can’t buy experience without playing. We have to back them,” he said.
“We are lucky enough to have these exciting fast bowlers, although they are young. Naseem is nearly 18 and Shaheen is just 20.
“They are bowling really well, putting the opposition under pressure and we are backing them because you can’t just sit outside and gain experience, you have to play.
“At the end of last year we were struggling for fast bowlers when we went to Australia and they have taken up the challenge and impressed everyone around the world.
“They have so much potential, experience will come, I still feel they are good enough to win Test matches for Pakistan.”
Veteran seamer Abbas, who enjoyed a prolific stint at Leicestershire as he learned to exploit the seaming surfaces of England, admits he feels at home on pitches like at The Ageas Bowl.
“I stick to my strengths and assess the conditions by reading the pitch and the batsman,” the 30-year-old told pcb.com.pk.
“I am enjoying the experience of bowling in England. The weather conditions here are conducive for seam bowling and the pronounced seam of the Dukes ball provides assistance to fast bowlers.
“I am excited for the third Test and looking forward to give a performance which will help my team level the series.”
Watch the third Test between England and Pakistan live on Sky Sports Cricket and across Sky’s digital platforms from 10.30am on Friday.