By CricketCountry Staff
Dubai: Oct 13, 2011
Sri Lanka middle-order batsman Mahela Jayawardene expects Pakistan to come hard at Sri Lanka in their upcoming series despite their off-field issues and controversies.
Pakistan’s chairman of selectors Mohsin Khan was recently named the interim coach for the series, replacing Waqar Younis, and the build-up to the series is taking place along with the spot-fixing trial in London involving allegations against two former players, Salman Butt and Mohammed Asif.
"I don't think it's ever been any different with Pakistan. The team has many controversies but on the field they do perform. They are a talented group of players and once they are on the field they pose a great threat,” Jayawardene said.
"They have always had issues, on the field and off the field, but I think you know they still perform and if you give them an inch then they make sure they run you over,” he added.
"You see the talent of the squad that's been assembled and it's a very experienced squad as well as having some really good young talent. We have to be playing some really good cricket to beat these guys," he added.
Sri Lanka will take on Pakistan in three Tests, five One-Day Internationals and one Twenty20 International, with the first Test beginning on October 18.
Pakistan’s bowling attack has been boosted with the return of Umar Gul and Wahab Riaz, as they were rested for the Zimbabwe tour. They form a potential bowling attack along withg Aizaz Cheema and Junaid Khan, and with off-spinner Saeed Ajmal and left-armer Abdur Rehman.
Jayawardene believes the contest between Sri Lanka batsmen and Pakistan bowlers will decide the fate of the three-Test series.
"It's been pretty much that way in the last couple of series against them - it's a great tussle. Pakistan have produced some really good bowlers and its going to be the same for us this time. We really have to get the runs on the board and try to pressure the Pakistani batsman,” he said.
"Obviously our bowling attack is a bit depleted with Murali not being there but the youngsters have shown a lot of potential, and the more they play, the more they will gain experience and perform in the highest level,” Jayawardene added.