KARACHI: Ramiz Raja — the ex-captain of Pakistani cricket team — believes the upcoming series with Sri Lanka offers a decent opportunity to test possible replacements for retired legends Younis Khan and Misbah ul Haq.
Pakistan will take on Sri Lanka in a two-match series — its first following the retirement of the experienced batting duo MisYou.
Talking to Geo.tv here on Monday, the ‘Cricket ka Raja‘ feels Sri Lanka has a comparatively weaker side, which, in turn, would provide Pakistan with the opportunity to test the young legs without any fear or pressure.
“Sri Lanka is going through a bad patch. They were defeated by Zimbabwe in a test at home and wrecked by India in a recent series,” Raja commented.
The ace commentator went on to explain that Pakistan should opt for a charged tactic to “attack Sri Lanka aggressively and should not allow them to settle in any session”.
However, “Pakistan must not be complacent either; [players] need to work hard like they do against any other team to get twenty wickets in a match,” Raja elaborated in an exclusive conversation with this correspondent.
Leading the team in the Test matches will likely pose a challenge for Sarfraz Ahmed — the incumbent team captain, Ramiz stated, adding that he hoped the wicket-keeper will continue to learn and transform his leadership skills into the longer format of the game.
“Test cricket is different from limited-overs type [wherein] you have a set formula to use your players. On the other hand, in Test cricket, you need to go session-by-session and there are often periods where you just need to stay calm,” Raja noted.
“Sarfraz has redefined Pakistan in limited-overs cricket and helped it look in good shape. I hope he will, with time, bring the same to Pakistan’s Test cricket.”
Offering words of support, the former skipper added, “All he needs is to remain positive and lead his team with an aggressive approach.”
In response to another question, Raja said it may not be easy for Pakistan to find a replacement for Misbah and Younis, adding that doing so is not something that can be done “overnight”.
“Players, who are technically good and can stay on the wicket, should be identified and then prepared as the replacement of the duo,” Raja concluded.