Sports, Cricket

Pakistan look to be positive against Australia

By Reuters
Published : 13 Dec 2023 08:57 PM

Pakistan’s new captain Shan Masood said his team will be out to buck considerable odds, and 28 years of history, with a victory over a full-strength Australia in the first Test from Thursday.

Masood, who replaced top batsman Babar Azam as skipper after the 50-overs World Cup, conceded Pakistan were short of test match practice but said there was no question of playing for anything less than a win at Perth Stadium.

“You have to be positive,” Masood, a fan of England's 'Bazball' style of play, told reporters on Wednesday.

“It’s picking your battles, it’s being sensible. It's about seeing the requirement of the games and seeing what are the ways we can save time in the game and create a situation where taking 20 wickets would be easy.”

Pakistan have taken 20 wickets only once in their last eight tests in Australia going back to 2009, part of a sequence of 14 straight losses going back to their last win in November 1995.

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Australia's bowling attack, having helped deliver the World Test Championship title and 50-overs World Cup this year, will be confident of dismissing Pakistan twice on what is expected to be a quick surface at Perth Stadium.

Captain Pat Cummins named a full-strength side on Wednesday with the return of off-spinner Nathan Lyon the only change from the side which retained the Ashes in the fifth Test against England in August.

Cummins also announced that middle order batsman Travis Head, one of the heroes of Australia's World Cup triumph, would be one of the team's vice captains alongside Steve Smith.

"I just think the personality that he brings to the team is something that we all love," Cummins told reporters.

"He takes the game on and he enjoys it. He's always got a smile on his face. He never takes anything too seriously.

"Sometimes you can mistake that for someone who's not a deep thinker about the game but I think tactically he's excellent.

"So he's got all the makings of a really strong leader."

Australia team: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Mitch Marsh, Alex Carey, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins (captain), Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.