Shan Masood and Chris Woakes in conversation

By Sohail Ali

LAHORE, Aug 26 (APP): Pakistan opener Shan Masood and England all-rounder Chris Woakes came together for a chat on the final day of the three-match Test series and the two reviewed the competitive nature of the series, discussed the challenges of the bio-secure environment and the return of international cricket in Pakistan with the prospects of an England tour to the country.

When Shan told Woakes about the positives of the return of cricket in Pakistan and the hosting of the entire HBL Pakistan Super League season five in the country, Woakes said, “Pakistan is a beautiful country and I have heard great stories about how passionate the fans are. I hope Test tours take place more frequently in the country.”

Woakes, who led hosts to a victory in a closely-fought contest at Old Trafford, told Shan that the Test series between the two teams was a competitive one and quality of cricket was of the highest order. The two concurred the presence of fans would have made the series even more memorable.

“This series was also hugely competitive and we [England] had to work extra hard to overcome the challenge,” the England all-rounder said. “Pakistan had a 10-year unbeaten record [in England] and we saw in the series how competitive it was especially since, you guys always seem to adapt very well to the conditions which most of the foreign teams touring here find as a challenge.

ALSO READ  First XI cricket teams players and officials tested negative for COVID-19

“Pakistan have always had great support in England. I am sure the crowd would have enjoyed the Old Trafford Test as the match deserved a crowd. It would have been great to have banter between fans and to have live noise.”

Woakes praised Shan for his career-best 156 in the first innings of that Test. He said: “We played U19 cricket together back in 2007 which now seems a lifetime ago. I was pleased for you to see you get 150 but not for me as I had to bowl all those overs.”

To a question by Woakes about Pakistan team management, Shan stated the presence of legendary former cricketers headed by Misbah-ul-Haq worked collectively on improving the players’ performances while focusing on technical and mental strengths along with the weaknesses of players.

“I have a long association with Younis Khan. To score a hundred in his first match as the batting consultant of the team was a very special moment for me as he has been a mentor and coach to me for a very long time. I have played a lot of cricket under him at the first-class level.

ALSO READ  645 new Coronavirus cases reported; seven deaths in past 24 hours

“Waqar Younis has worked extremely hard with the young pace attack led by Naseem and Shaheen. He even made me bowl a lot of overs in nets sessions and I also ended up bowling in the Southampton Tests.

“Misbah has really grown in his role and has been providing invaluable guidance to all; he is a great support to the squad. Mushtaq Ahmed who has had a lot of experience of coaching the England team has also been a tremendous help not only to spinners but the entire squad.”

Reflecting on the team’s preparations ahead of the Test series, Shan told Woakes the team had worked very hard in the bio-secure bubble and was pleased with the facilities given to them.

“We really worked hard in the build-up, which started in Derby when we first arrived in England. We really enjoyed the hospitality and we were provided great care in a challenging environment. Overall the Test series was played in great spirits between the two teams despite the on field battle for supremacy.”
England and Pakistan now lock horns in three T20Is, which will be played at the Old Trafford, Manchester.