Pakistan, Australia take Test matches seriously

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Pakistan, Australia take Test matches seriously

Skipper Clarke refuses to take Pakistan lightly as Australians look to continue winning streak.

By Sunil K. Vaidya (sports Editor)

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Published: Wed 22 Oct 2014, 12:12 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 7:11 PM

Australia captain Michael Clarke and Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq during the unveiling of the Test trophy at the Dubai Cricket Stadium.  Photo by Shihab/ Khaleej Times

Australia captain Michael Clarke and Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq during the unveiling of the Test trophy at the Dubai Cricket Stadium. Photo by Shihab/ Khaleej Times

Dubai: It will be a different ball game when Pakistan hosts Australia at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium from today. The results in the shorter versions of the game in the last few weeks will have little bearings on how the two teams battle it out in whites.

Pakistan are coming into this Test series with two back-to-back away defeats in Sri Lanka but they will have some solace in the fact that the Australians have lost eight Tests, won only one and drawn four in their last 13 Tests that they have played in the Asian subcontinent. It is a different matter that Australia’s all eight defeats were in India.

The records and statistics may, at the most, give a psychological edge but in the end both the teams will have to play good cricket over five days to come up trumps.

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq agreed that the Australians have a poor record in the subcontinent but also cautioned that they cannot be taken lightly. “Everybody knows that (Australia’s poor record in Asia), but they have already proven in the ODIs series that they can be a really tough side.

“So, you cannot say that their record is poor and we can just go through them, you have to really play well, fight hard against them, otherwise it can be really difficult for you,” he opined. He advised his teammates to put their best foot forward and give hundred percent for the performance that would be rated right at the top. He hopes such efforts would help them beat the Aussies.

Pakistan have a fairly inexperienced side in this Test series but Misbah sees that as an opportunity for the newcomers to make an impact with solid performance in the series. For that he wants his teammates to stick to the basics. “Keep your basics on the field, it is not a rocket science and there is nothing else,” he said while addressing the media before the two captains unveiled the Series trophy.

Australian skipper Michael Clarke would be looking to wrap up the series 2-0 so that the Aussies could go on top of the ICC Test rankings (they are already at the top of ODI rankings) and also improve their win ratio in the last seven years.

Clarke denied that they would focus on World number one ranking. “Yeah I don’t think that’s our focus. Our focus is playing really good consistent cricket,” he stressed. Talking about their dismal record in Asia, he said: “We certainly know we have to continue to perform away from home.”

“The great teams that I’ve seen and been lucky enough to play with, they seem to have consistency at home and away,” he pointed.

“That’s probably our greatest challenge as a Test team.”

Despite four successive victories in the shorter versions of the game during this tour, Clarke would not like to take Pakistanis easily. When asked how he would rate his opponents in the wake of recent results between the two teams, he said: “Exactly how I rated them before I came to the UAE. Pakistan are a very good team, they’ve got a lot of talent in this team. We have the utmost respect for them, we’ve seen them have success.”

“Test cricket is a lot different to one-day cricket and T20 cricket as well,” he insisted, hinting that the battle could be different from the ones fought earlier in the tour of the UAE, which is the home away from home for Pakistan.

Two battled-hardened Pakistanis veterans Misbah and Younis Khan, almost raw bowling attack definitely make Pakistan underdogs on paper but they can be handful for the Aussies, who have had two-week pre-tour workout on spinning tracks back home in Brisbane. Even without Saeed Ajaml, Misbah’s men can spin a web that could be difficult to penetrate.

sunilvaidya@khaleejtimes.com



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