1st Test Match Preview: WI and PAK begin 2023 WTC campaigns

This tour was not just any series for both sides. This series meant a lot to them. All of it went to waste as the rain had fun, leaving Pakistan 1-0 win of the series. As we move to the Test series, this will be even bigger as the 2023 World Test Championship campaign has begun. Here’s the match preview of the 1st Test Match between West Indies and Pakistan. 

The World Test Championship began with the drawn Test between England and India but were docked two points due to slow over-rate. This series between the West Indies and Pakistan will be the second WTC series. Both teams will be looking to improve from their previous WTC campaigns. 

West Indies ended eighth in their campaign and lost four out of six WTC series with one drawn. Meanwhile, Pakistan ended in sixth. They won three series, all at home, but none away. Pakistan did have the opportunity to win the series in England, but their bowling had let them down. 

For most of the series, Pakistan lost due to their bowlers. They conceded the top two highest-individual scores in that cycle of WTC. None of the bowlers, who played at least three WTC series, averaged below 30 and conceded under three. The bowling will be under the radar in this new cycle. 

Pakistan, after this series, will travel to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. They will host Australia, England, and New Zealand at home. Many believed that this could be a great opportunity for them to qualify for the WTC final. 

Rain looms for another Threat

The West Indies will have to improve a lot in this Test tournament. They are 7th at the ICC Test rankings and are way behind the 6th ranked South Africa. They did not win a single home test match. Of the six home matches they played, they managed only two draws and lost the rest. 

Now starting against Pakistan at home, the West Indies will be looking to fix their home match losses. They will be looking to at least start winning the home games to improve their chances further in the WTC. 

The rain, however, is again looking to disturb the series as it did with the T20I series. Both Test matches are scheduled in Kingston and the rain is scheduled on some of the days. There will be interruptions. 

Match Details:

  • Date: Aug 12, 2021
  • Timing: 8:00 PM PKT
  • Venue: Sabina Park, Kingston
  • Weather: The weather indicates rain for the first three days of this Test match. There will be interruptions in between.   

Conditions / Pitch Report: 

The pitch is good for batting in the early days and tends to get slower and slower. It also has a fair share of bounce which will assist the fast bowlers.  

Head to Head:

Matches: 52 | West Indies: 17 | Pakistan: 20 | Draw: 15

Form Guide:

West Indies: L L D D W  (Most recent first)

Pakistan: W W W W L 

Team News:

1. West Indies

Kraigg Brathwaite is still a fresh captain but hasn’t had a great time at home against South Africa. They lost 2-0 in the previous WTC series. Now starting a new cycle against Pakistan, he and his men will be looking to put up a strong performance in the opening Test match. They will be looking to play four fast bowlers, knowing the pitch will give some bounce and Pakistan’s struggle against the short balls. 

West Indies’s Probable XI:

1. Kraigg Brathwaite (C), 2. Kieron Powell, 3. Nkrumah Bonner, 4. Shamarh Brooks,  5. Jermaine Blackwood, 6. Jason Holder, 7. Joshua de Silva (WK), 8. Rakheem Cornwall, 9. Alzarri Joseph, 10. Kemar Roach, 11. Shannon Gabriel

2. Pakistan

The top six of Pakistan will be the same as it was in the previous Test series against Zimbabwe. There will be a couple of changes in the bowling department. Mohammad Abbas and Yasir Shah are back and will be slotted in the XI straight away. It will come down to Faheem Ashraf or Nauman Ali and it will depend on the pitch.

Pakistan’s Probable XI:

1. Abid Ali, 2. Imran Butt, 3. Azhar Ali, 4. Babar Azam (C), 5. Fawad Alam, 6. Mohammad Rizwan (WK), 7. Faheem Ashraf/ Nauman Ali, 8. Hasan Ali, 9. Mohammad Abbas, 10. Yasir Shah, 11. Shaheen Afridi


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Players to watch:

1. Babar Azam, Batsman (Pakistan)

The Pakistan skipper is not having a great time in Test cricket lately. He scored only 124 runs at an average of 20 in six innings. Babar is aware of his form of late. In four Test matches against the West Indies, he averages in the 30s. Personally, he enjoys batting against them and this series could become his turning point of getting his form back.

2. Kraigg Brathwait, Batsman (West Indies)  

The last time Pakistan toured the West Indies, Kraigg Brathwaite had a series to forget. He scored 101 runs at an average of 16 in three Test matches. He was criticised for his approach against Pakistan, especially Yasir Shah. Overall, he has a decent record against the Men in Green, averaging about 37. Now as a captain, he will be looking to step up and help West Indies get off the mark this WTC cycle with a home series win.

3. Yasir Shah, Bowler (Pakistan)

Pakistan’s premier leg-spinner returns to the Test side after missing out on the Zimbabwe tour. He had a great series against the West Indies in 2017, picking up 25 wickets in Pakistan’s famous victory. He has the second-best bowling average against a single team in West Indies and he will be looking for some big success on the wickets he enjoys bowling. 

4. Jason Holder, All-Rounder (West Indies)

Former Test captain Jason Holder does enjoy bowling against Pakistan, averaging just 22. Add his batting, which made him one of the underrated Test all-rounders. He scored a double century two years ago and a handful of the fifties. Holder can be a dangerous customer for Pakistan, and a good knock and/ or spell can change the course of the match.

Stats and Trivia:

  • Roston Chase needs 57 runs to reach 2000 Test runs
  • Yasir Shah is one wicket away from equalling Abdul Qadir’s record of 236 Test wickets. 
  • West Indies have not defeated Pakistan at Sabina Park since 1977

Also read: KPL 2021: Smooth-running journey of Muzaffarabad Tigers

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