Wahab Riaz © Getty Images
Wahab Riaz © AFP

After six long years, Pakistan cricket team has finally arrived in England to take part in what is turning out to be the most eagerly-awaited Test series of the year. From the horrors of the 2010 tour that saw three of their top-flight cricketers being banned, Pakistan have come a long way. Invariably, Mohammad Aamer will be the cynosure, but it is imperative that other experienced cricketers around him, such as Wahab Riaz, share a lot of burden with the young pacer. The upcoming four-match Test series in England will be the toughest assignment for Pakistan in Test cricket in recent times, and bowlers, for more than one reason, will be their best bet. COMPLETE COVERAGE: Pakistan tour of England 2016

If Pakistan’s recent performances are anything to go by, the team ended up as a divided house following their ICC T20 Cricket World Cup 2016 exit. Since then, the national side has undergone a few changes, and the tour of England provides them a chance to start afresh and on a positive note. ALSO READ: Aamer in spotlight as he returns where he threw it away

However, like many teams have discovered in the past Pakistan would know that touring England is one of the toughest assignment in international cricket today. The best of the teams — Australia did look strong heading into Ashes 2015 — have been blown away and it will take a lot of preparations, planning, execution and fortitude to stand against the rampant hosts.

If there is one area where Pakistan can threaten — if not match — England from the outset will be their bowling. They have terrific swing bowlers in their ranks, and if they find the rhythm early on in the series, Pakistan will post a lot of threats to an English line-up that looks feeble at the top with their opening worries not yet sorted out and Joe Root’s struggles.

Aamer will be the centre of attraction, but Pakistan cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past. In the Asia Cup 2016 as well as in the World T20 2016, their opponents got away the moment pressure was ceded by one of the Pakistan bowlers. On both the occasions, Aamer had set up things in favour of his side.

The experienced Wahab Riaz will have a massive role to play in England. Pakistan will need their experienced pacer to not only back Aamer well enough, but also to attack. England’s frailties with the bat are widely known and one of the ways Pakistan can have a say in this Test series is through their bowlers.

Wahab made his debut in that ill-fated series in 2010, and in the last 6 years he has played only 15 Tests, a huge chunk of them coming post August 2014. Wahab has majorly played on flat decks around the subcontinent, and the England tour will present him the opportunity to show the magic of Adelaide (against Australia in 2015 World Cup quarter-final).

It will also be interesting to see the kind of wickets England prepare, as their fast bowlers can certainly dominate on the green-top bowling-friendly wickets unlike their batsmen. Nevertheless, whatever kind of wickets England opt to prepare for this series, Pakistan bowlers will enjoy bowling in favourable conditions. But success will only come to those who will exploit the conditions to the fullest.

(Devarchit Varma is senior writer with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)