DateLine: 13th August 2010
Pakistan all rounder Abdul Razzaq who is currently featuring for English County side Hampshire in the Friends Provident Twenty20 competition expressed his aspirations to PakPassion.net for a return to the Pakistan test lineup in future.
Razzaq last featured for Pakistan in test cricket in November 2006 against the West Indies in Karachi, scoring 7 and 10 respectively as well as picking up 3 wickets in a one sided encounter that Pakistan comfortably won by 199 runs. However at the age of 30, Razzaq does not think that his test career is over.
"In English conditions I would have been effective, especially given the nature of the wickets at both Nottingham and Birmingham. I don't believe that my test career is over, even though I havenít featured for Pakistan for more than three and a half years. I am ready to return to test cricket whenever I am required. Of course it's out of my hands and down to the selectors and those that select the squads. There seems to be differing schools of thought amongst the coaches as to whether I can do well in test cricket."
Razzaq commenting on the struggles of the touring Pakistan team against England feels that the fielding continues to be a major issue and that the Pakistani batsmen have struggled to adapt to English conditions and really need to start to put the runs on the board.
"The age old problem of poor fielding has not been eradicated. During practice our fielding is very good but it seems that the concentration slips during a match situation. Some of the boys don't really enjoy their fielding and that's a problem too.
We've always struggled against the swinging deliveries and none of our top order batsmen have really been able to get a foothold against the English bowling and make a big score. You need your top order players to make scores of 50 plus to give the bowlers something to bowl at.
Both England and Australia are very good teams. Their standards are very high and Pakistan should look to match those high stanards and improve their game, otherwise England will continue to comfortably beat Pakistan in the remaining test matches."
Razzaq though thinks that Pakistan can bounce back at the Oval, a ground that he knows well, especially if the wicket is as expected more batsman friendly.
"The track at the Oval is likely to suit Pakistan and the batsmen will prefer conditions there. If it is a more batsman friendly track then Pakistan could defeat England."
Razzaq's confident that Pakistan will put on a good show in the one day series and twenty20 matches at Cardiff, irrespective of the outcome of the test series.
"It's a totally different game isn't it. The outcome of the test series will have no bearing on the limited over matches, as both squads will have a number of different players included. Our approach will be different in the shorter versions of the game and we'll aim to give England a tough time in that series."
Looking ahead to Twenty20 finals day on Saturday when Hampshire take on Essex and then Nottinghamshire feature against Somerset, Razzaq feels that the competition is wide open and any of the four remaining teams could be crowned champions for 2010, although home advantage could be crucial.
"Yes we'll have home advantage and the fans will get behind us, but in Twenty20 cricket anything is possible, it's sometimes just down to one big over from a batsman or one poor over from a bowler. It really is wide open and all four teams are very strong in this format of the game. It will be interesting coming up against Danish Kaneria and I don't mind that one bit. Danish knows I'll go for my shots and I am confident that I'll do well against him. I don't really think that leg spinners are that effective in the twenty over format."
Razzaq who is expected to be selected for the two Twenty20 matches and the subsequent five one day internationals against England commencing next month added that he has thoroughly enjoyed his stint with Hampshire and his preparation for the matches against England are going well.
"They are a great bunch of lads at Hampshire and there's a very good team spirit. We all back each other up and I have thoroughly enjoyed my spell at the Rose Bowl. Hampshire have really improved this season in all departments."
Razzaq was not signed by the South coast County to play in any of the County Championship matches or 40 overs matches, but he has ensured that he squeezes in as much match practice as possible ahead of Pakistan's limited over series' against England.
"In order to get some match practice in ahead of the matches against England I've played for Hampshire seconds in a one day match and will continue to make myself available for Hampshire seconds".
The Indian Premier League continues to be a big draw for Pakistani cricketers and Razzaq's name will undoubtedly be towards the top of many IPL franchise shopping lists. Razzaq stated that he would like to feature in the IPL and although his name has been linked with the Kolkatta Knight Riders, he's viewing the IPL with an open mind.
"Let's wait and see what happens with regards to Pakistani players being allowed to compete this time around. Of course if we get the go ahead from the Government, then it all depends on the auction. I've heard that Kolkatta are interested, but let's see who else are interested. Whilst it's not absolutely vital for me and my Pakistani team mates to play in the IPL, it's good to take part in tournaments like the IPL as it means we come up against some of the best players in the world and it helps you improve as a cricketer in that twenty over format. Also it's enjoybale, you can't help but enjoy playing in the IPL."
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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