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Australia in Pakistan for first time in two decades

Nathan Lyon in action for Australia
Nathan Lyon in action for Australia
©REUTERS
 
Writer Syed Naseem Ahmad
Writer Syed Naseem Ahmad
 

More than two decade wait and the Aussies will finally land in Pakistan to test the might of the unknown in the land where the game is adored next to religion.

Since the perception created by the anti-cricket powers that Pakistan is unsafe to bowl and bat is now finally clearly seen in the mirror by Cricket Australia. Now the game is on and hopefully it will open gates for many more games to be played without any kind of fear. Security thy name is universal and in fact not only Pakistan but almost every nation has to live with and brace it bravely.

Finally Chairman Selectors George Bailey announced a well-balanced 18 members Test squad of Aussies? getting ready to tour Pakistan. Before one should go for in-depth analysis it is heartening for the cricket fans in Pakistan that finally the doors are ajar for world class cricket to be seen in the deserted stadiums here. The Kangaroos probably think that they will be groping in dark in Pakistan as they have forgotten the warmth that this country offers to cricketers. The gap of 23 years is too long to remember our hospitality and love for the game. I can assure the Australian cricketers that they will certainly face tough time on the field but will find sporting and knowledgeable crowd all over Pakistan.

As regards Pakistani team I must say that by now they were playing cricket on the melting glaciers but now they will have the feel of playing in the skating ring.

Looking at the 18 players of the Aussies team I find a well-balanced side in them capable of beating Pakistan in the 3-match Test series. The formation of the team is awesome as they have five fast bowlers with the support of three spinners of variety. The batting appears to be solid with three openers namely David Warner, Usman Khawaja and Marcus Harris with the likes of Steven Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head, Cameron Green and Mitchell Marsh, suggesting a solid middle order. Surely a formidable side to cope with.

On paper and on recent form in the Ashes series one is bound to admit that Kangaroos despite little taste of Pakistani turf will be hard nuts to crack. But this does not mean that I am under estimating Pakistani team but what bothers me is the lack of Test cricket and too much involvement in the white ball games. That is why I am afraid that despite having talented and world-class cricketers they might not be able to match this tough Australian team. Having played series of T20 cricket and fully engrossed in the PSL cricket it will be a gigantic task for Babar Azam’s team to adjust with the red ball. Pakistan does possess the potential with Abdullah Shafique, Shan Masood as openers followed by Azhar Ali, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan to follow. The four fast bowlers with Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Abbas, Hasan Ali and Haris Rauf will try to match the Aussies fast bowling might.

But the spinners department lack the depth with only out of form Yasir Shah will have to bear the brunt of slow bowling. This leaves the curators of pitches as to what kind they may be asked to prepare. Comparing both the bowling departments Babar will have a difficult task to choose as to which type will be favourable to him. This is where I am also at a loss to help him because in either way Australia has an edge over Pakistan. But wait and see my assessment may be wrong as Pakistan is an unpredictable side capable of defeating Hercules with bare hands.

The Pakistan squad announced was full of surprises. Mohammad Abbas and Yasir Shah as reserves and it appears that the team is selected on PSL performance. Induction of five slow bowlers indicate that Pakistan will go for spinners’ wicket. Moreover Abid Ali being bed ridden our opening pair of Shan Masood and Imam-ul -Haq appears to be vulnerable against genuine fast bowling. All bad planning for Test series is visible and a weaker side on paper as compared to Australians. With Pat Cummins,? Mitchell Starc and Hazelwood & company of fast bowling battery, the chances of Pakistan seem rather difficult. to overpower the Kangaroos.