Mohammad Amir is ready to withstand an England fightback in pursuit of “the best memory” of his life.
Amir helped bowl Pakistan to a nine-wicket win at Lord’s, which has put them on track for a series victory, with the second Test due to begin at Headingley tomorrow.
The left-arm seamer, who took five wickets at Lord’s, is proud already of the tourists’ success so far, but is wary of dwelling on it against opponents he expects to respond significantly.
“Winning games at Lord’s – the home of cricket – it is very hard to win (in England),” he said. “We did well at Lord’s, but it’s passed now.
“Everybody knows England are a very good side – I think one of the best sides in Test cricket – and they will come harder at us here. “But we are ready for that challenge.”
If Pakistan can maintain their advantage, Amir will treasure the prize.
“It’s a big achievement winning in Test cricket in England against England at home,” he added. “If we win the series I think it will be the best memory of my life.”
Mohammad Abbas was Pakistan’s most potent seamer at Lord’s, with eight wickets, while Hasan Ali took four in the first innings, and Amir believes they all have bowling coach Azhar Mahmood to thank.
He said; “Credit goes to all the bowlers, especially Mohammad Abbas – he’s bowling very well – and Hasan Ali. But credit goes to Azhar Mahmood (as well). He’s working hard with us and keeps telling us, ‘Pitch the ball up, pitch the ball up’. I think that was the main difference at Lord’s.
“We are looking for the same here, and I always give the credit to Azhar Mahmood because he is working so hard - and he is the man behind this.”
Meanwhile, Keaton Jennings must make the numbers stack up this time after being given a second chance to prove himself as a Test match opener.
Jennings knows from his accountancy studies off the pitch as well as his previous England struggles on it that it can sometimes be difficult to achieve viable statistics.
In six Tests before being dropped in favour of Mark Stoneman nine months ago, the left-hander could muster only 294 runs at an average of 24.50, despite a century on debut in Mumbai.
Now, against Pakistan at Headingley, the 25-year-old will become the first of the 12 openers tried since 2012 as Alastair Cook’s partner to get a second shot at what Jennings describes as “one of the toughest jobs in Test cricket”.
Jennings began a university accountancy degree as a teenager and is still working towards his graduation, between cricket assignments.
Asked if he can make a success of his Test aspirations as England bid to battle back from their nine-wicket defeat at Lord’s, he said: “I suppose that’ll only be answered at the end of the week.
“You will only get judged on the amount of runs you score.
“With cricket, you can do everything right and things just don’t work out sometimes.
“But I’m really excited for this week – I want to play with a happy heart and a big smile on my face.”