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Wasim unconcerned by Amir return

It's not the return of Mohammad Amir that has Wasim Akram worried ahead of the first Test against England at Lord's

Former great Wasim Akram is unsure how Pakistan's batsmen will cope during the upcoming Test series in England.

Wasim is expecting England’s pace attack to get plenty of swing during the four-game series that commences at Lord's on Thursday and is hoping the Pakistan top order will be able to adjust quickly to the swinging ball.

Veteran paceman James Anderson will miss the opening Test of the series, but Wasim knows England have plenty of depth in their fast bowling ranks that is sure to trouble his former side.

"It’s Pakistan’s batting that I’m worried about, even with James Anderson missing," Wasim said in The Sunday Times.

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"Any player with a back-foot technique, or who is neither forward nor back, will struggle against these bowlers in these conditions."

Pakistan's pace attack is likely to feature the returning Mohammad Amir, plus fellow left arm quick Wahab Riaz and in-form leg spinner Yasir Shah.

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Wasim is confident Amir can make an impact on his return to Test cricket and expects all of Pakistan's bowlers to cause Gary Ballance some problems at the top of the England batting order.

“From what I have seen of Gary Ballance he is mainly a back-foot player,” Wasim said. 

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“I would expect Pakistan to pitch the ball up and take it away from him, posting three slips and a gully, while keeping open point, mid-off and extra cover to encourage the drive. 

"That way you have a chance of him nicking off. But you have to be consistent and patient.

“England is a great place to use the width of the crease against left-handers. Start off close to the stumps, and then once in a while go wide. 

"You can go round the wicket, or over, as long as you keep good control of the ball.

“I hope Pakistan have done their homework because the new ball swings a lot more in England, and can reverse more too. 

"Credit to England’s bowlers; they have learned not just how to reverse the ball but how to maintain it so that it reverses for longer.”

Wasim is hoping that Yasir is capable of holding up an end while bowling and that the Pakistan quicks can rotate at the other end to keep the England batsmen on their toes.

“The great thing about having pace and spin working together is that it does not matter so much what the pitch is doing, or whether you win the toss. You have the bases covered," he said.

“Myself, Waqar and Shoaib Akhtar used to operate in short bursts while Saqlain Mushtaq attacked or defended. One of us was always fresh to come back. Misbah-ul-Haq is an experienced captain with a good brain and knows how to handle his bowlers.

Meg Lanning Steve Smith