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Root terms Pakistan a strong side

LONDON: England skipper Joe Root reckoned Pakistan as a strong side who has world class players who could exploit English conditions in the first of two Tests starting at Lord’s on Thursday.

Root is in second year of his captaincy and has to overcome a tough loss in the Ashes coupled with a 1-0 defeat in New Zealand on their tour of the Tasman.

“I think they are good side,” said Root in his pre-match comments on Wednesday. “There have been quite a lot of changes from the last tour. It looks like the attack they might go with is to try to exploit English conditions. They are very skillful and they have some world-class players.

“We’ve seen quite a lot of Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz, and Babar. In the middle-order, there are some really good players. Amir, we’ve come across him in the recent past along with some of their other seamers. We’re expecting a really strong side to play against.”

Root praised new Pakistan leggie Shadab Khan, who replaced a more mature and experienced Yasir Shah ruled out of the tour with a hip injury.

“Yasir had a great tour last time and posed a lot of issues,” said Root of Yasir who took ten wickets in Pakistan’s win at Lord’s in 2016. “I faced Shadab last summer in the Champions Trophy, he’s had a great couple of years for Pakistan and he’s a good bowler, good skills, googly, brings the stumps in, you have to make sure you do your research, the best idea how they will try to break you down and adjust well. That’s different for every player.”

ALSO READ: Dominic Bess is ready for first Test

In comparison, England will also gamble on newcomer Dominic Bess.

“He (Bess) is a very confident young man, he has a lot of energy as you would expect. And he seems like he is really clear about what he wants to do in the game and how he is going to approach this week. That is all you can ask of somebody going to make his debut, which is really exciting for me as captain.

“I remember mine and I remember the feelings – you just want tomorrow to come round, get given your cap and get out there. He has approached this week really well and hopefully he can have a good start to what will hopefully be a long career.”

Root hoped the balance is good for the Test.

“We want to make sure we have a side that covers as much as possible, gives us as many options that we can have in each department. Look at someone like Jos at No.7, I think that is a really exciting and integral part of our batting unit.

“He can take the game to the option and from a position of strength make it even stronger and maximise the top order’s runs. And also with the tail be able to be really cute and smart and get the best out of them.

“Look at the way he approaches his white ball cricket, there is a lot of that which can cross over. He is a very smart cricketer, he has a good brain, vice-captain, he has a lot of experience in white ball cricket. I think that can transfer and this is an opportunity for him to do that in Test cricket.”

Root admitted England’s winter tour was not good.

“I think we’ve had different challenges to deal with and we haven;t been at our best this winter But this summer is a really good marker, we can judge at the back end of these seven Test matches.”

Root hoped the two Tests against Pakistan help grow some players for future.

“More than anything to see a few lads grow and make sure we’re maximising our chance to be consistent and more successful everywhere we play, not just at home. more consistent qith back to back to back games and all round become skilfl and prepared for longer series. that’s something you can measure in six months time.”

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