Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur believes his “fearless” side have everything to gain when they face an “under the pump” England in the first Test at Lord’s on Thursday.
England will be looking for some much-needed home comfort after recent winless Test tours of Australia and New Zealand extended their poor away record in cricket’s longest format to 13 matches without a victory.
Pakistan, by contrast, enter this two-match campaign on the back of a morale-boosting five-wicket win over Test debutants Ireland at Malahide last week.
“We haven’t come here not to win,” Arthur told reporters at Lord’s on Tuesday.
“It’s a changing room full of very, very skilled cricketers, very young cricketers, fearless cricketers. If we get the breaks and things go our way, they will certainly put England under pressure.”
England, in their first Test since Ed Smith became their new head selector, continue to have doubts over a batting order where captain Joe Root has been promoted to number three, wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow to five and Jos Buttler recalled at seven.
And with Jack Leach injured, England could give a Test debut to his fellow Somerset spinner Dominic Bess.
“In their home conditions, England are a different team to England abroad,” said Arthur. “We’ve had a look obviously at Buttler, he adds an attacking side to England.”
Two years ago, England were held to a 2-2 home draw by Pakistan in a four-Test series.
Since then veteran batsmen Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan have both retired, with Pakistan hoping the likes of Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq can fill the void.
But it is Imam-ul-Haq, the nephew of Pakistan selection chief and former Test batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq, who has made three fifties from as many games this tour — including a match-clinching innings against Ireland.
“He’s a totally different character to Inzi,” said Arthur of Imam, a 22-year-old left-handed opener, who is somewhat quicker between the wickets than his celebrated uncle.
“He played beautifully for us, under pressure, against Ireland in his Test debut.”