Better to have Shahzad and Hafeez as openers: Sallu

Karachi: Former chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed Sallu said openers of a team are of critical importance and therefore Pakistan should go with Ahmed Shahzad and Mohammad Hafeez as specialists in the third match against England.

Opening partnership of Jason Roy (54) and Alex Hales (109) made the difference for England against Pakistan in the match. They put 102 runs for the first wicket partnership and gave a solid platform for England on a low pitch. Scoring 284 on a low pitch is difficult. But the opening partnership proved helpful for the visitors to achieve the total, which they eventually defended Sallu, a former Test cricketer told PPI.

So, I believe we also need a solid opening partnership and in order to have that, Ahmed Shahzad and Hafeez should open. They are our opening specialists he said.

He added that Pakistan has many batsmen in the middle order.

If we open with Ahmed and Hafeez, then skipper Azhar Ali can come at No 3 followed by Shoaib Malik, Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfraz Ahmed and Anwar Ali. We will then have deep batting line he suggested.

Meanwhile, he said Pakistan has a better team than England plus the team also has added advantage of home-like conditions.

We have home-like advantage since our team has now accustomed well to UAE conditions. The weather and the crowd favor our team. So I think we have edge over England. Moreover, the series is locked at 1-1 after two matches and the third match will be of great importance for both teams he explained.

Pakistan won the first match by six wickets but England bounce back in the series with a convincing 95-run triumph. The two teams will again meet in Sharjah on November 17 before going in the last match of the series on November 20 in Dubai.

Sallu said that although Pakistan’s fielding is getting better gradually but the players dropped some catches and lost run-out chances, which helped England to post a competitive total subsequently.

Our fielding is getting better with the inclusion of young players. Our seniors players in the have also been good fielders. But we didn’t field well in the second match and few catches were dropped and some run-out chances were also not availed he said.

We need to work on our grey areas and must also focus to improve our low ODI ranking. Now direct qualification in major tournaments depends on rankings such as World Cup 2019. So we must also keep that in mind he said.

Although Pakistan is ranked second in both Test and T20 formats but the team holds lowly eighth position in ODIs.