A highly significant passage of time, months before an ICC tournament perceives a gallant opportunity for Pakistan and Sri Lanka to acquire the accurate gears in motion as both countries look to renew rivalry this summer on shores on the beautiful island of Sri Lanka. Pakistan are scheduled to tour Sri Lanka from 29th May to 12th July with the fixtures comprising of 3 tests, 5 one-day internationals and two important twenty20 games. Opposite sides of the coins as they say, Pakistan is currently riding high as the winners of Asia Cup 2012, in which Sri Lanka unfortunately failed to win a game, culminating in a loss to the impressive hosts in Bangladesh. Pakistan therefore come into the tour, the more self-assured of the two countries having benefitted from a stellar year in 2011, both with the bat and ball. In head-to-head encounters, both countries have played 10 matches in the past year with Pakistan winning a much larger mass of those encounters, seven to be precise at a win/loss ratio of the same respectively. A much welcoming enterprise in appointing Mohammed Hafeez as the captain for the T20 format gives in a positive insight in the direction of establishing specialist-focus in the encampment, and the development for the upcoming future of Pakistan cricket.

Starting the piece with the foremost strengths and a rare combination of a settled opening pair along with more than capable spinners makes Pakistan a very dangerous side under the conditions which is well-known to play fearless cricket. Led by a calm skipper and coming off a very healthy win record including the recent whitewash of No.1 ranked test team in England, this tour is sure to add strength to already existing confidence. The middle order trio of Azhar Ali, Younis Khan and Misbah-ul Haq all average over 45 over the past year at a combined average of 147, 22.9 added runs than the combined average of the highest three scoring batsmen from Sri Lanka, averaging a combined 124.2 runs between them. Jumping to the bowling department, there lies the ever-present existence of Saeed Ajmal galloping further away, effortlessly from the rest on both sides. With a demolishing record of 123 wickets at an average of 20.1 and an economy under 2.9 over the past year, the spin wizard is miles clear of his nearest rival in Rangana Herath, 51 scalps to be precise again, all adding to the strength of the bowling department.

Over to certain noticeable weaknesses and Pakistan over the years have showed a tendency to blow hot and cold along with displaying minimum levels of consistency. The pace factory lacks venom habitually associated with Pakistan and the new management have tough work on their hands to convert this weakness into a force of strength as it has been in the legacy. Interpolation into the player-to-player batting record comparison between the new boys in Asad Shafiq and Dinesh Chandimal makes for lesser reading, with the former averaging a meagre 28.1 compared to the superior 35.1 for the Sri Lankan counterpart. On overall career numbers, only one Pakistani batsman in Younis Khan averages over 50 in comparison to three from Sri Lanka in Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Thilan Samaraweera. Fielding in general remains an ever-lasting worry and it is best-watched for now, what influence can the new management and think-tank provide to this weakest subdivision.

On to the opportunities and immense prospect on hands for the likes of the consistent Afaq Rahim (right hand bat/test squad) and especially the 19 year old spin prince in Raza Hasan (slow left arm/T20 squad) to show the world what they are capable of, and at the best possible time, with just a couple of months off an ICC tournament, the T20 World Cup to be held at the same corner of the globe. The new squad further opens the doors once again for the now-seasoned pacer in Mohammed Sami who positively has been introduced a second opportunity in manufacturing a permanent place for himself in the Pakistani pace battery which currently gradients at a decline. Considering the opening batsmen on either side, Nasir Jamshed holds the highest average for one-day internationals, just shy of 40 and will look forward to this tour as an additional opportunity to build upon the rising bridge.

And ultimately to the perspective of threat. Pakistan have a great tendency to self destruct themselves as a team. The perception of threat mainly comes from within this extremely talented bunch of individuals. Customary instances of corruption and political grouping for power among players have not helped the overall image, giving rise to controversies and speculations on a regular basis. Deficiency of suitable wicket-keeping integrated batting options are incorporated as a feature corresponding to threat, since Adnan Akmal holds the highest average of the lot at 25.2 in tests, in comparison to the likes of Dinesh Chandimal and Prassana Jayawardene, both averaging over 30 with ease. Amongst the all-rounder category, the more established duo of Angelo Matthews and Tillakaratne Dilshan appear to hold the pair from Pakistan in Mohammed Hafeez and Shahid Afridi on batting averages, while Hammad Azam is yet to achieve wonders on the International circuit, and only time will tell whether Pakistan are on its way to finding another genuine all-rounder or will this appear to develop into another threat-worthy situation.

Summing up, Pakistan go into the tour, unquestionably the firm favourites for each format on the tour, due to a relatively on-par batting subdivision headed by the proficient Younis Khan, Azhar Ali, Misbah-ul Haq and Mohammed Hafeez to name a few, along with to a great extent, an advanced line of bowling attack led by the world-class Saeed Ajmal. The hosts on the other hand are home to some of the greatest cricketing names in the sport of the modern era with the capabilities of Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela jayawardene and Lasith Malinga, still riding high to be excelling in their assigned roles and despite the recent slump in form, will come hard. While the air of expectation amongst the Pakistani camp remains high for yet another impressive showing, it is safe to say that fans on either side will be in for enormously hot cricketing action this summer.