Thursday, February 21, 2019 | ePaper
Pakistan braced for Bulawayo Test
Pakistan will start their one-day international series against Zimbabwe as clear favourites, but
captain Sarfraz Ahmed expects the hosts to be challenging opponents in their home conditions as their tour moves to Bulawayo for five games in the longer of cricket's two short formats.
"The one-day series is important, and it's not easy to play Zimbabwe in their home conditions," said Sarfraz.
"The matches are also starting very early. It's probably even more cold in Bulawayo too, so it's not going to be an easy series."
With this tour taking place in Zimbabwe's winter, meaning early sunsets on a ground without any floodlights, the games will start at 9.15am local time (0715 GMT). That will make the toss important, as batting conditions can be difficult in the morning despite the Queens Sports Club track's traditionally benign nature.
Spin can also be more of a factor at Queens, and Pakistan will be further buoyed by the possible return of legspinner Yasir Shah to their ODI playing XI.
Yasir, who last played an ODI for Pakistan against England at Trent Bridge two years ago, missed the most recent tour of England with a stress fracture but has been picked for the upcoming games. With teenage legspinner Shadab Khan also part of their squad, Pakistan have plenty of firepower should conditions favour spin.
As usual, they will also have plenty of pace options, with left-arm quick Junaid Khan returning to their ODI squad and likely to open the bowling with Mohammad Amir.