Sri Lanka Tests: Pakistan fit and raring to go, says batting coach Flower

LAHORE: After successful ODI and T20 campaigns, courtesy victories in Champions Trophy and in the Independence Cup, Sarfraz Ahmed-led Pakistan are preparing to take on Sri Lanka in the UAE for a two-Test series, starting September 28.

PCB called 18 players for a camp at the National Academy Lahore to prepare for the Tests in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and batting coach Grant Flower believes the team is in good shape.

“It will be easy to train them as they are fit and are getting used to the conditions here,” Flower told The Express Tribune, adding batsmen worked on the basics on the first day

He added that players have to acclimatise themselves for the UAE weather. “The conditions here in Lahore and in Dubai are similar, so it will be easy for us to train keeping the UAE conditions in mind.”

When asked if Pakistani batsmen need improvement in a specific area, Flower said: “There is no specific area I will be working on with them. We are working in general to make improve their shot-making.”

He continued: “I have just asked them to stay focused and determined. The more confident they are, the better. Their shots will reflect their confidence. There are a couple of practice matches here too, which will help them gear up for the Test series.”

‘Players happy with Sarfraz as captain’

Sarfraz will lead the Pakistan in his first-ever Test as captain after Misbahul Haq retired and Flower thinks players are comfortable with him at the helm.

“Players are happy with him during the camp which shows that the team will perform well under him,” said Flower.

Commenting on the replacements of Misbah and Younus Khan, he said: “They were the legends of Pakistan cricket. They have left a huge legacy, but the game moves on, and like other top teams, the top players have to be replaced at some point and that time is here for Pakistan.”

Flower then vested his trust in the likes of Haris Sohail and Usman Salahuddin, who he believes, if invest in, can deliver results.

“If you look at the current lot of young players training with us, you can see the potential in Haris Sohail and Usman Salahuddin. They are great in the longer format of the game, but it will take a long time for them to establish themselves to match the greatness of Misbah and Younus,” he said.

‘Stay humble and confident’

Flower moved on to lay down suggestions for the Pakistan team when they face Sri Lanka.

“If they stay humble and confident to face the upcoming challenge, and leave no chance for the opponent team then they can win the series,” said Flower.

Meanwhille, Flower said the batsmen will not face any stern challenge as far as the conditions in the UAE are concerned. “You will get to see a great deal of spin bowling and reverse swing. And the batsmen are used to the conditions in the UAE. It won’t be a problem for them to face the Sri Lankan bowlers.”

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