MANCHESTER: Pakistan are set to tone down captain Misbah-ul-Haq’s press-up celebration even if they win the second Test at Old Trafford.
The tourists’ 42-year-old skipper marked his first-innings hundred, in what was his maiden Test at Lord’s last week, by saluting his team-mates and then performing 10 press-ups.
It was a gesture repeated by the whole team in front of the Lord’s Pavilion after they wrapped up a 75-run win, with more than a day to spare, to go 1-0 up in the four-match series.
The press-up routine has become the squad’s way of thanking army staff who put them through a pre-tour boot camp.
Fielding coach Steve Rixon said the military training had been beneficial.
But speaking to reporters at Old Trafford on Wednesday two days out from the start of the game, he suggested a repeat celebration was unlikely.
“It probably won’t be seen again,” he said.
“It was something that was initiated through the captain — he made a little pledge to himself.
“We didn’t know it was coming. It was spontaneous.”
The former Australia wicket-keeper added: “It’s something you see in all sports … a one-off thing.
“It’s done and dusted, and we move on.”
Rixon said what mattered more than how Misbah chose to mark a century was the unity he had forged within the squad.
“The spirit is very high, and belief is high,” Rixon explained.
“(The win at Lord’s) was reward for a lot of hard work — the boot camp back in Pakistan, and a lot of hard work in (two weeks’ additional training in) Hampshire.
Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah was the key man at Lord’s with a 10-wicket match haul.
The Old Trafford pitch usually has more pace and bounce than the one at Lord’s and Rixon said that would suit all of the Pakistan attack.
“I think our seamers will do very well here, with the extra bounce,” he said.
“Generally speaking, Yasir will have a major effect in any game of cricket. It doesn’t have to turn a lot for him to have an impact.
“When you have magnificent control you are in the game, and there are very few who have had that.
“Shane Warne is one, and Yasir is rightfully sitting at the top of the tree for that reason.”
England have recalled all-time leading wicket-taker James Anderson after concerns he was not fully fit following a shoulder injury, even though there were reports that he thought himself ready to play in the first Test.
Rixon acknowledged England were in an awkward situation by saying: “It’s a fine line — a very fine line.”
Not that Pakistan were too upset by Anderson’s absence or that of all-rounder Ben Stokes, also now recalled to the squad after a knee injury.
“We are very happy with what’s been happening so far,” said Rixon.
“Jimmy Anderson is a great bowler.
“They are two very fine cricketers (and) … will add to the England attack and overall composition of the side.
“We are expecting as hard a game as we’ll get in the series right here.” –AFP