Misbah-ul-Haq wants Pakistan to adapt to Australian conditions
Pakistan's head coach and chief selector, Misbah-ul-Haq has warned his side about the change in conditions they will probably face in their upcoming series against Australia. Speaking to the reporters in Sydney, the former Pakistan captain wants his team to be ready to acclimatise to ‘different’ conditions after a busy domestic schedule back at home.
Misbah sounded apprehensive of the fact that most of the recent cricket played by the national players has been on the flat decks of the country and quickly adapting to bouncier conditions will post stern hurdles for a young side. He said:
"The conditions are different than when you play in all other parts of the world… So you need to adjust to that pace and bounce especially in the batting unit and obviously when you're bowling because in Asian conditions your biggest strength is your spinners.”
Misbah didn’t play much cricket in Australia himself. He represented Pakistan in five Tests Down Under and scored only 152 runs at an average of 16.88. In his lone limited-overs international, he scored 34 runs while captaining the side.
His numbers convey better the kind of tough conditions that will welcome the Pakistan batsmen. Looking at the current T20 form of Australia, Misbah is confident that good performances in all three departments of the game will help them produce good results. He explained:
"You have to bowl slightly differently here, the lengths are different, even the lines are different for the pacers here. So these are the challenges we are looking at ahead of this series. We want to address those and the kind of talent we have, if we can be disciplined in all departments, I think we can produce good results,"
Pakistan's team management took drastic steps after an average summer that saw them endure an abysmal ICC World Cup campaign in England and Wales. The follow-up T20I series at home also put forth more questions than answers for Misbah to tackle. Sarfaraz Ahmed had to bear the brunt of a string of poor performances by the team and him personally as he was removed from the role of Pakistan's T20I and Test captain. He even failed to make both the aforementioned squads for Australia tour. Misbah didn’t look much into these changes at the helm and believes that both Azhar Ali (Test captan) and Babar Azam (T20I captain) will grow as players and leaders on this tour. Misbah stated:
"Sometimes it's a challenge for the captains. Azhar has already captained in Australia. He's a bit experienced, he knows, and he's played a lot of Test cricket. Babar is new, and so it will be really important for me to pass on advice. The team also needs to support him and execute plans.”
Talking about the young talents at their disposal, Misbah was excited to release some of Pakistan’s potential future stars and throw them straight into the mix. 26-year old Usman Qadir, son of legendary spinner Abdul Qadir and 16-year-old Naseem Shah are two prospects that excite him the most. According to Misbah, Usman’s experience in Australia will be of huge advantage while Naseem Shah will bring huge unpredictability up-front. He said:
“A few of the youngsters have come up just in this season and Usman Qadir is one of them. He played the T20 tournament there and he bowled well. We picked Usman because he has experience playing in Australia, knows the conditions and with his height, especially, gets a little bit more bounce also.”
"He's (Naseem Shah) bowling well. Especially in the four-day competition that's going on, first-class, he's bowling well. The good thing about him is he's bowling well in all spells. He's now playing his fourth first-class game of the [Quaid-e-Azam trophy] back home, and in all spells, he's bowling quick. His control with the ball is also good. I'm looking forward to him bowling here in Australia where the conditions will also give him some assistance in getting pace and bounce. Everybody is excited to get him on the team.
The T20I series starts on 3rd November in Sydney which will be followed by matches in Canberra and Perth on 5th and 8th November, respectively. The two Tests will be played at Brisbane (from 21st November) and Adelaide (from 29th November).
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