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Pakistan ring ring the changes

Following their heavy defeat in the first Test at Trent Bridge, Pakistan make changes to their squad for the second Test. The series concludes at Lord's.

England thrashed Pakistan in Nottingham by 354 runs with the tourists all out for just 80 runs in their second innings.

Only one Pakistan batsman managed to score more than 50 runs in the entire match - bowler Umar Gul.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and new captain, Salman Butt have moved swiftly to strengthen the batting line-up.

Former captain Mohammad Yousuf has been coaxed out of retirement and will add strength and experience to Pakistan's fragile looking middle-order.

Yousuf 'retired' in protest in March, after the PCB suspended him following the disastrous tour of Australia under his captaincy.

In-fighting and disagreements amongst the team were blamed for the poor results and the PCB banned both Yousuf and Younus Khan.

Australia captain, Ricky Ponting, described Yousuf as Pakistan's "classiest batsman" and "dangerous" - an assertion backed-up by Yousuf's career stats.

In his 88 Tests, Yousuf averages 53.07 runs, with 32 half-centuries and 24 centuries under his belt.

Against England that already impressive average rockets up to 70 and with 6 centuries from 12 Tests against England, the stats point to Yousuf scoring a ton every other game against England.

Yousuf should enjoy a return to Lord's. The 202 he scored in the drawn Test in 2006 put him on the Lord's Honours Boards and is the highest Test score by a Pakistani at the Home of Cricket.

Pakistan are hoping to rush through a working visa in time for Yousuf to play at Edgbaston but if not he should be available for the third Test at The Oval and the final match, at Lord's.

More changes

The squad changes don't stop there though

Pakistan have also dropped bowler Danish Kaneria. The leg-spinner may feel a touch hard done by - he troubled Australia at Lord's taking four Aussie wickets in their defeat.

He took two more wickets at Headingley as Pakistan won in Leeds to tie the two match MCC Spirit of Cricket series.

However, he had a torrid time against England at Trent Bridge going wicketless whilst being hit for 100 runs from just 21 overs in the first innings; and taking 1-71 in the second innings.

Kaneria is replaced by another left-arm spinner, Raza Hasan.

Hasan's spin is orthodox, rather than Kaneria's leg-spin. At just 18 Hasan has yet to play a Test and only made his first-class debut last year - he is at the opposite end of the experience scale to Yousuf.

However, impressive performances for Pakistan under-19s have earned him a call-up to the Test squad. Pakistan will be hoping he can have a similar impact to their other 18-year-old bowling prodigy Mohammad Amir.

On the other hand, with Yousuf, the last time they temtped a former skipper from retirement (Shahid Afridi) he re-retired after just one Test!

Pakistan always guarantee one thing - lots of entertainment!


Tickets are still available for all of the first four days of England v Pakistan at Lord's. Day five tickets at Lord's not sold in advance.

Prices start at just £5 for under-16s, rising to £100 for the best adult tickets available.

The Test at Lord's will be England's last before this winter's Ashes Series in Australia. Make sure you're here to cheer your team on to an important victory.

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