Australia v Pakistan 2019: 3 Players to watch out for ahead of the first Test
Pakistan will be looking for redemption when they lock horns against Australia in the opening Test starting tomorrow. With the return of the likes of Steve Smith and David Warner, the Aussies will be the firm favourites. However, the visiting Pakistan team has some exceptional young talent in their ranks who will surely look to make a mark in the two-match series.
However, the form of David Warner in the longest format hasn't been great.
He had a torrid run against England and will look for redemption. Australia will be heavily reliant on the services of Steve Smith, who has been going through a purple patch from the past few months.
With the opening Test slated to begin at The Gabba, let us take a glance at the three players who could be the game changers for their respective sides.
Also see – World Test Championship Schedule
This man doesn't need any introduction. After getting banned from international cricket for a year, the star batsman has made a dream return to the international foray and has been milking runs for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He was at his ominous best in his return series against England and ended the series with 774 runs under his belt in only 4 Tests. It was on the back of his exceptional Ashes performance that allowed the Aussies to retain the Ashes in England after a long time.
There is no doubt about the fact that he will be the main batsmen for the home team. With tons of runs behind his belt in the recent past, the Pakistan bowlers will have their work cut out. The Test record of Smith is simply unbelievable. He has the best Test average among modern batters and is only second to Sir Don Bradman. Smith has been a champion batsman over the years and will look to continue his dream run in this format.
When Pakistan toured Down Under the last time around, Babar Azam scored just 65 runs in 6 innings which proved to be the nail in the coffin for the visiting team. Being the best batsmen in the Pakistan team, Babar has to lead from the front this time around. There is certainly no doubt about his talent and he has proved himself over the years. However his transition from a very good player to a great player can only be possible if he starts scoring more runs in the SENA countries.
Over the years, Australia has been a tough team to beat in their backyard. If Pakistan harbor hopes of winning their first Test series Down Under, the performance of Babar Azam will be very important. He has a contrasting record in Test and ODI formats. Babar doesn’t have a great record in the longest format but he is still just 25 years old and the best years are yet to come for him. The series Down Under might just turn his fortunes around in Test cricket.
The Pakistan fast bowler will be a lethal weapon for his skipper in the series given his exceptional record in the longest format of the game. In the limited number of opportunities he's gotten, Mohammad Abbas has impressed all and sundry with his pace and swing. He is a skiddy customer and has the ability to move the ball both ways just like his pace bowling idols Glenn McGrath and Mohammad Asif.
On the back of consistent performances in the domestic circuit, Mohammad Abbas finally broke into the Pakistan national side in 2017. He made an impact immediately returning with 15 wickets from 3 matches against West Indies. In the away series against England, Abbas played a crucial role in Pakistan’s historic victory against England at Lord’s. His record speaks for itself. In 14 Test matches, Mohammad Abbas has bagged 66 wickets at an exceptional average of 18.86.Published 21 Nov 2019, 00:09 IST