Pakistan coy about changes ahead of third Test

Pakistan's Shan Masood walks back to the pavilion after losing his wicket for 24 runs to a catch by England's Alastair Cook off the bowling off England's Chris Woakes on the third day of the first Test cricket match between England and Pakistan at Lord's cricket ground in London, on July 16, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / IAN KINGTON / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. NO ASSOCIATION WITH DIRECT COMPETITOR OF SPONSOR, PARTNER, OR SUPPLIER OF THE ECB
Shukriya Pakistan

Birmingham: Pakistan were determined to give away as little as possible ahead of the third Test against England at Edgbaston on Wednesday.

Following a 330-run defeat in the second Test at Old Trafford, which saw England level the four-match series at 1-1, there is likely to be a change in Pakistan’s top order.

Struggling opener Shan Masood appears set to miss out, with Pakistan either including novice specialist opener Sami Aslam, a 20-year-old who has played just two Tests, at the top of the order or promoting number three Azhar Ali.

“We are sure about who will be playing — absolutely no doubt — but I don’t want to let the other team know,” Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq told reporters at Edgbaston on Tuesday.

“Keep guessing! We are clear in our thinking, and we know what we are going to do.”

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur made no attempt to hide his feelings after the huge loss at Old Trafford and Misbah said he had no issue with the South African’s strong criticism of the side.

“I think his anger is appropriate,” said Misbah.

“The players are also unhappy that, after an outstanding performance, you were nowhere in the next game.

“But you have to give credit to the opposition that they played so outstandingly that it put you out of the match.”

Both Arthur and Misbah are determined to instill a team culture in a squad whose last tour of England in 2010 saw Pakistan bowled out just 72 in their first innings of that year’s Edgbaston Test.

“I think it’s important that we should set a trend — no one is bigger than the game.

“We have to understand that and be disciplined. No matter who the player is, even if it’s me and if my priority is something else, then I should not be in the team.”

As for that 2010 reverse, Misbah — who wasn’t even in the squad at the time — said: “I think if you keep the past in mind you can’t move ahead – obviously it’s a new game, new pitch and a different team.

“So whatever challenges come before us… we have to focus on them, not worry or think about 2010 or before.”