x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Pakistan in dire need of steadying influence of Younus and Yousuf

The call for the return of Pakistan's experienced batsmen will intensify after the tourists' abject batting performance at Trent Bridge.

The call for the return of Younus Khan and Mohammad Yousuf will intensify after Pakistan's abject batting performance yesterday. The warning signs about the brittle nature of their inexperienced batting line-up were evident at Leeds as Pakistan wobbled while chasing a modest target against Australia last week. The way James Anderson and Steven Finn dismantled the top of the order yesterday in Nottingham will have sent shivers through the dressing and prompt a rethink from the selectors.

The top six of the Pakistan batting - Imran Farhat, Salman Butt, Azhar Ali, Umar Amin, Umar Akmal and Shoaib Malik - have played just 106 Test matches between them, scoring 6,355 runs. They have only nine centuries. Farhat is the most-capped player in that list with 35 Tests and he is not even a regular. Butt, the captain, has played just 29 matches. Brought up on a steady dose of one-day internationals and Twenty20 cricket, they have been found wanting in the demanding arena of Test cricket. The necessary resilience and technique is missing.

Moin Khan, the former captain, had warned about this after the victory over Australia. "It is a moment of joy that we have finally broken Australia's winning streak," he said. "[But] this victory does not mean that we should forget about having Younus Khan and Mohammad Yousuf in the team." In the two-match Test series against Australia, just four half-centuries were scored by Pakistan batsmen, and just two hundred-plus partnerships. In their last 21 completed innings, Pakistan have crossed 300 just six times, with a top score of 455, against New Zealand in Napier, and a low of 90.

They probably have one of the best new-ball attacks in the world, as Butt boasted after the narrow win over Australia last week, but they are still far from challenging Test cricket's elites. To do that, they still need the solidity of Younus and Yousuf. arizvi@thenational.ae