CRICKET and rain go together, and in England at least it has never been different.
Pakistan, though, had nearly a full session at the nets at Lord’s on Tuesday before a light shower interrupted the proceedings and drove them away under the shelter of the indoor cricket school next door.
Hoards of mediamen in attendance roamed around looking for opportunities for an interview or to add a bit of spice to what Pakistan has on offer on this tour.
Joe Root, England’s most successful batsman in recent years, and Wahab Riaz were however ushered in for brief talk to the media and both in their way seemed confident of what their team would have on offer in the series ahead and in the first of the four Tests starting here on Thursday.
Their thoughts of playing positive and controversy free cricket may obviously could turn out to be a preamble of this much talked about Pakistan tour after nearly six years.
The focus, however, is no doubt how Mohammad Amir will perform in the series and what would be the nature of response that he will have to face generally from the crowd and the members of the MCC at Lord’s where on his last visit he disgraced us after by bowling deliberate no-balls for money during the Test and for which he was later banned and punished along with his captain Salman Butt and colleague Mohammad Asif.
Wahab, besides being sharp as he is with the ball, handled the barrage of questions about Amir fairly well. I am, in fact, pleased to say that he sensibly flicked their nagging queries off his legs quiteprofessionally.
I was a lot more keen though to have a few minutes with the manager of the team Intikhab Alam and captain Misbah-ul-Haq.
Both agreed that this Pakistan team does have the potential to perform beyond what the detractors may think of them.
Having played two drawn games against Somerset and Sussex, both feel they have the capacity to absorb pressures and compete against Alistair Cook’s men at equal level.
“At Somerset our boys batted superbly. Azhar Ali made a fine century and another against Sussex,” said Intikhab. “Asad Shafiq looks in good nick too and so does senior pros Younis Khan and Misbah and they all seem very keen to get on with it.”
“Having looked at them closely so far, I have a feeling that this team has the ability to do well against England and may even shock them,” said the former captain. “The moving ball in English conditions is kind of a bane for the overseas batsmen, but it looks like that they have been coping well,” said the manager.
Misbah echoed Intikhab’s views. “We are now a fit bunch of people and, having played two very useful matches against counties, feel confident of doing well in the English conditions with both bat and ball.
“I am not worried about what people may think about our batting line-up but I personally feel that we have the capacity to deliver and if the weather is kind to us we shall indeed try and play to our full potential,” Misbah said.
It was raining at Lord’s while I wrote this, the covers were on and the ground staff appeared busy mopping up rain from the top of the sheets.
England does have its full share such unkind weather, no matter it is summer or the chill of the winter. I remember the seventies when in the month of June it snowed heavily at Buxton in a county game and an Aussie great David Boon playing in that game enjoyed the snowfall so much that he stood right in the middle of the pitch knee deep in snow padded up and with bat and gloves in hand to resume his innings.
Come rain or hail-storm, Pakistan however appear determined to do well. And we can only wish them well.