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Pakistan have good experience of playing in empty stadiums,

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  1. ghazi52

    ghazi52 PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    Pakistan have good experience of playing in empty stadiums, says Abid

    Mohammad Yaqoob

    June 17, 2020


    [​IMG]
    LAHORE: Pakistan Test opener Abid Ali said on Tuesday that the team is used to playing without fans and the empty stadiums during their upcoming tour of England wouldn’t affect them.

    Elite sport has returned to England following the global coronavirus pandemic but with only limited number of people allowed at venues and no spectators allowed.

    During a teleconference arranged by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Abid said the team will look to the experience of playing in near-empty grounds in the United Arab Emirates when Pakistan was a no-go area for cricket.

    “The conditions are going to be challenging during the tour due to the Covid-19 outbreak,” said Abid. “While the hosts will suffer more since the home fans wouldn’t be in attendance, Pakistan have enjoyed good support from the crowd in England with a large number of Pakistanis settled in England.

    “It is unfortunate for the fans, and for us. But we’ve played at empty stadiums for the last several years in the UAE.” Cricket has since returned to Pakistan and they head to England on the back of Test series wins at home against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

    With Pakistan unable to train at home due to lockdown restrictions still prevalent in the country, the national team is likely to train in England ahead of the tour. And Abid said leaving for England a month-and-half before the start of the Test series would eventually benefit Pakistan.

    “It will help us plan better after looking at the conditions there,” he said. “We will also have a chance to look at England during their series against the West Indies [which precedes the Pakistan series] so all that will hopefully help us.”

    Abid, who holds the record of being the only batsman to have scored a century on both his Test and One-day International debut, backed the coaching staff to prepare the team well.

    “We have the best coaches in [head coach cum chief selector] Misbah-ul-Haq and [batting coach] Younis Khan, who have played well in English conditions so we will learn from their experiences,” he said.

    Despite an impressive record in the domestic circuit, the 32-year-old Abid has had to wait for his chance to make his place in the national team due to the flawed selection policy in the past. Misbah, however, has put his trust in Abid and the opener is looking to repay that faith.

    “I’ve made peace with the past,” said Abid. “Now, I’m only looking the future and focusing on delivering my best for the national team.”

    Abid is the part of a rather large 29-member Pakistan squad, named by Misbah in view of the travel restrictions due to the virus. Following the three Test series, Pakistan are due to play three Twenty20 Internationals against England and Abid is ready to play in the shortest format of the game if called upon.

    “If the team management needs me, I’m ready to play T20s too,” he said.

    Published in Dawn, June 17th, 2020