Return of Tests to mark a new era for Pakistan Cricket: Shoaib Muhammad

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ISLAMABAD, Nov 18 (APP):Former Test Cricketer Shoaib Muhammad believed the return of the longer-format game in the country next month, would mark a new era for Pakistan cricket.

“It will be great to see the Sri Lanka team playing two tests in Pakistan. It would prove very beneficial for Pakistan cricket and the long awaited cricket-hungry fans who are dying to witness the games at home,” he told APP on Monday.

Sri Lanka and Pakistan would play two test matches against the national side on December 11-15 and 19-23 in Rawalpindi and Karachi cricket stadiums, respectively.
The Pindi Stadium, Rawalpindi would host a test match after a gap of 15 years. The last test was played between Pakistan and India in April 2004. The Test cricket would return to National Cricket Stadium, Karachi after a gap of 10 years as the venue last hosted Pakistan and Sri Lanka Test in February 2009.

Shoaib, who played in 45 Tests and 63 ODIs from 1983 to 1995, said the upcoming tests against Australia would help the players in the games against Sri Lanka.

“Playing two tests on Australian pitches will boost players’ morale and confidence which would result in better outcome against the Sri Lankan team,” he said.

Recently, the Sri Lanka team toured Pakistan for ODI and Twenty20 series in September and October. The ODI were won by Pakistan while the shorter-format games were bagged by the visitors.

Shoaib, who had scored 2,705 runs in 45 Tests, expressed dissatisfaction with the way the game’s affairs were being handled. “We need to work on school and college cricket in order to improve our game and bring up budding players,” he said.

Shoaib, who had scored 1,269 runs in 63 ODIs, said we need to identify the weaker areas and needed to work on them by removing the weaknesses of players.

“To prepare the players in all three departments, we need to establish a variety of pitches which should provide equal opportunities to batters and bowlers and should allow all disciplines in the game to flourish,” he said.

He said we also need to improve the umpiring standard at the domestic level. “Umpiring is the key role in the game which needs to be improved. We must also improve the quality of cricket balls at the domestic level,” he said.