LAHORE             -        Pakistan Test team vice captain Babar Azam has said that winning the England series is top priority as the team’s recent record on English shores have been really good.

Babar said this during a videoconference on Thursday from Worcestershire, where the national team is currently observing a 14-day quarantine period and also taking part in training sessions to prepare well for the series. “We performed well during our previous tour of England, that’s why the boys are eagerly looking forward to the series. We are currently focused on winning the Test series as that is our first goal on the tour.

“English team has home advantage but our bowlers will give a tough time to their batsmen. We will target their fragile Test top order. Mohammad Abbas is experienced while Naseem Shah and Shaheen Afridi have a lot of potential. We have high expectations from our bowlers,” he added.

The right-handed middle-order batsman said that it is crucial to convert scores into really big ones, something he would like to do in the three-match series. “When you score a century, you naturally want to go on and convert that into a double or a triple century. This is something I would like to do during the Test series. I like to play my natural game but my selection of shots depends on the conditions and bowlers.”

The 25-year-old batsman, who has been in rich form and has been compared with fabulous – Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Steve Smith and Kane Williamson – by cricket greats, has urged fans to compare him with Pakistan greats rather than Virat Kohli. “I don’t want to be compared with Virat Kohli. It would be better if people compare me with one of the Pakistani legends like Javed Miandad, Mohammad Yousaf or Younis Khan,” he added.

Babar said that Mohammad Rizwan, who cleared COVID-19 assessment in second attempt, would be the first choice in the Test despite the presence of former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed in the squad. “Mohammad Rizwan is our first choice wicketkeeper and he will get full chance during the Test series,” he asserted.

Earlier in a statement, batting coach Younis Khan termed Jofra Archer as a major threat for Pakistan batting. On this, Babar said that he tries to play the ball on merit regardless of who the bowler is. “We are prepared for the series. I am on my plan and I know which kind of bowling will be up against me. I watch the bowl and doesn’t play by the name of the bowler,” he said.

When asked whether England would benefit from the West Indies while playing against Pakistan, the T20I captain said: “We are keen to play against England and eager to win the series against the hosts.”