Misbah-ul-Haq, Younis Khan during their last Test © AFP
Misbah-ul-Haq, Younis Khan during their last Test © AFP

Neither Misbah-ul-Haq will be there to rescue Pakistan from precarious situations, nor Younis Khan to pile up runs for them. The young team now have a tough task in their hand, as they gear up for a two-Test series against Sri Lanka in UAE, their home away from home.

“Things are shaping up well and this is a real challenge for us. We had a good chat with the boys this morning. The challenge is there and it’s a new chapter, a new dawn for our Test team,” Mickey Arthur said in a report published by Cricbuzz.

The once mace-holders now stutter at No. 6 position in the ICC Test Rankings. They lost consecutive series in New Zealand and Australia, thus sliding down. “I think we’re ranked sixth at the moment and we have to work on getting it down. We have set ourselves some realistic goals. South Africa 2019 (Pakistan will be touring the South Africa in 2018-19) is our ultimate goal. That’s where we want to be where we think we can be with this group of players.”

MisYou have definitely left a void, and Arthur believes that it will be unfair to the guys to expect similar results that Misbah and Younis produced. “Of course it will be very unfair to the guys you bring in to the team to say they are the replacements. I think it is now on people like Azhar Ali, who has been superb for us last year in the Tests. Asad Shafiq, and to a lesser extent Babar Azam – it is incumbent on those three guys standing up taking the bulk of the runs now. The other guys are young and inexperienced and are where Azam was a year ago and Shafiq a couple of years ago. Every series we go into we want to win, as we are judged on that.”

Arthur says the new phase is exciting and that working with newcomers will be fun. “It is a new dawn for us as we are going to see some fresh and young faces. I think that is very exciting in taking the team forward.”