Imam-ul-Haq sets sights on World Test Championship final

LAHORE: With his sights set on the trophy, Pakistan’s ambitious opener Imam-ul-Haq has said he could not wait to play the final of the ongoing World Test Championship.

Pakistan will play five Tests in December and January on home soil, with three against England followed by two versus New Zealand.

The Babar Azam-led unit is currently in fifth place in the World Test Championship standings with 51.85% of points won.

“Due to the World Test Championship, the series against England and New Zealand is important for us,” he said. “We can stay in the race for the final by winning three or four matches during the upcoming series.”

It must be noted that the current cycle runs from July 2021 to June 2023 and comprises the top nine Test teams, all of whom will play six series each. The top two teams will compete in the final, which will be hosted by The Oval in June, 2023.

Imam is currently playing in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy as he looks to stay in rhythm ahead of the crucial Test matches.

“I’m trying to maintain my form by playing domestic cricket,” he said. “Test cricket usually happens after a long gap which is why we have to prepare for it from scratch every time.”

“I like playing Test matches on home soil as compared to ODIs and T20Is,” he added.

The left-hander was also happy to see top cricketing nations tour Pakistan.

“I’m happy to see that England and New Zealand are sending their full-strength teams to Pakistan. Top teams visiting Pakistan is good for our cricket,” he said.

It must be noted that the three-match Test series between Pakistan and England will start on December 1 in Rawalpindi.

However, in case of political instability, the first Test is likely to be shifted to Karachi which is already scheduled to host the last Test from December 17-21. Although, Multan will remain the venue for the second Test.

In case of venue changes, the England team’s arrival schedule will also be revised. Initially, the English team is said to arrive in Islamabad on November 27.

This will be England’s second half of the tour, following seven Twenty20 Internationals in Karachi and Lahore in September-October earlier this year.

Pakistan have not named their squad for the Test series so far.

England squad

Ben Stokes (c), James Anderson, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ben Foakes (wk), Will Jacks, Keaton Jennings, Jack Leach, Liam Livingstone, Jamie Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root and Mark Wood.

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