Karachi: Ahead of the first cricket Test against England starting in Dubai on Tuesday, Pakistan's chief selector, Mohammad Illyas, declared that the team is capable of winning the series.

"I think Pakistan can defeat England even though they are the top side in the world," Illyas said.

He insisted that Pakistan would definitely gain advantage of having played a lot more cricket in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and having better knowledge of the conditions at the two venues.

"Our team has the ability to beat England. UAE is like a second home to them. The team that bowls first will have the advantage in these matches," Illyas, a former Test player, said.

Pakistan''s chief coach, Mohsin Khan, has also warned England that they can be surprised by his team in the three-match Test series.

Illyas said that the team selected for the series was a balanced one with emphasis on both attacking and solid batsmen. "We inducted Umar Akmal into the side because he is an aggressive player and can put the rivals under pressure."

England have won both the three-day warm up matches but former captain Moin Khan said the results would not matter as everything will be different in the first Test.

"The mindset and approach of players of both sides will be different in the Tests and I am hopeful that our team can do well because we have a good bowling attack. But it will be entirely upto the batsmen to score enough runs to give the bowlers a fair chance to take 20 wickets," he said.

Former Test spinner and ex-chief selector, Iqbal Qasim said it would be a very close series and Pakistan will miss the services of a specialist leg-spinner.

"I still feel that they should have had Danish Kaneria in the side because the conditions are such in the UAE that a wrist spinner will always be a better option to take wickets while Rehman or Saeed Ajmal bottle up one end and build up the pressure on the batsmen," he noted. .

(Agencies)