Batting coach Younis Khan said he is working hard on the skills of the lower-order batsmen as he believes a “fighting tail” will be crucial for Pakistan in the next month’s three-Test series against England.
The series begins at Manchester on August 5.
“If we have to win series in England, if we have to fightback, it is important that our tail-enders also fight, which is the hallmark of all successful teams,” Khan said, referring to the role of England’s lower order in their 2-1 series victory against West Indies.
“It’s not just the top six-seven batsmen. The tail-enders must also perform with the bat,” he said during a virtual press conference on Tuesday.
The 42-year-old, who has scored 10099 runs in 118 Tests for Pakistan, said he has been trying to improve the batting skills of pace trio of Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah and Mohammad Abbas.
“We are working with our bowlers, who bat at number 9, 10, 11. They may not score a lot, but they need to put up a fight with the bat,” he said.
“I think Abbas has nice balance. I’m trying to make him their leader, so that he can guide the tail-enders. We’ve been working really hard on their batting – feeding them bouncers and yorkers in the nets.”
Top batsman Babar Azam will be leading the batting for Pakistan and Younis said his job will to be take his game to the next level.
“He’s been a fantastic performer for Pakistan with strong performance in the last couple of years. I want him to bat longer, converting his 100 into 150 and 150 into 200,” he said.
“Hopefully, he will end up as a legendary batsman. I don’t think we should put comparisons of other players with Babar. All this could put unwanted pressure on him. Babar has a class of his own and I hope I can take him to the next level.”
Younis said adapting to the conditions will be the key for the batsmen in England.
“It’s an open secret that batsmen struggle here, especially on their first tours. Batting isn’t easy, more so when it’s cold and overcast. It’s crucial to play close to the body, under your eyes and play late with soft hands,” Younis said.
“We’re working with the boys to ensure that they adapt. See, you can not change technique overnight. Maybe with the extremely young and raw players you can, but not with the established players. That’ll surely backfire. So, it’s about adapting and refining your technique to adjust with the conditions.”
Talking about the mental aspect in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Younis said, “Sometimes, personal issues can greatly affect your game and I’m trying to ensure that all of them are at peace. Skill and fitness can be worked upon but mental strength is equally vital.”