ODI series preview: Pakistan v Australia
Pakistan may speak of being confident of victory in this ODI series in the UAE, but one imagines that they’re rather nervous behind the scenes, given their dismal batting and lack of premier spinners.
Australia romped to an easy win in the one-off T20, where Pakistan lost nine wickets and failed to reach triple figures. This does not bode well for a whitewash avoidance, as coach Waqar Younis admitted.
Pakistan’s batting line up is weak, and without the stabilizing influence of Younis Khan. Say what you like about his reaction to being dropped, but his middle order partnerships with Misbah were often the difference between defeat and… a bigger defeat.
Shahid Afridi is there, and one never knows what he’ll do on any given day, while veteran Misbah will feel the pressure, especially as their young Virat wannabe, Ahmed Shehzad, either fails or thrills. Rarely a solid 30 from him.
The obvious weakness is in the bowling though. With Saeed Ajmal banned and Mo Hafeez injured, the spin pool is shallow, as was evident in the T20. Mo Irfan is back, but he looked like a man who hadn’t played proper cricket in a year.
As such, it’s tough to see the Aussies losing this, no matter how unpredictable Pakistan can be. Most of them are coming off the Champions LEague T20, or county cricket before that, and David Warner has been inspired by fatherhood, it seems.
They are missing Shane Watson, Michael Clarke and Mitchell Marsh, but the back ups are impressive too, with James Faulkner, Steve Smith and George Bailey able to rescue the side if Warner and Aaron Finch fail at the top.
Bowling-wise, they will be thrilled with the news that Mitchell Johnson is fit to play, after he missed weeks of action with a rib injury. He, and Nathan Lyon with his spin, will be looked to for most of the wickets, though Mitchell Starc and Maxwell are able to do so too.
For the hosts, all-rounder Shahid Afridi may have to do the job. One of the most unpredictable men in cricket, he’ll have to find some solid form to help his side out, with ball and bat.
The Aussies also have a thrilling all-rounder on the book in Maxwell, but we reckon the opening pair of Warner and Finch will be crucial. If they get going the game could be sorted in the first 20 overs.
Last Five Head-To-Head Results
2012, Third ODI: Australia won by three wickets in Sharjah
2012, Second ODI: Pakistan won by seven wickets in Abu Dhabi
2012, First ODI: Australia won by four wickets in Sharjah
2011 World Cup: Pakistan won by four wickets in Colombo
2010, Fifth ODI: Australia won by two wickets in Perth
Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Umar Akmal, Fawad Alam, Umar Amin, Asad Shafiq, Sohaib Maqsood, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shahid Afridi, Raza Hasan, Mohammad Irfan, Anwar Ali, Wahab Riaz, Junaid khan
Australia: George Bailey, Sean Abbott, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin, Phil Hughes, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner
First ODI: 7 October in Sharjah
Second ODI: 10 October in Dubai
Third ODI: 12 October in Abu Dhabi
England’s Reece Topley: Injury battle has given me ‘unique’ perspective
Topley says he is not fazed by ‘pressure scenarios’.
Women’s Test cricket: Katherine Brunt calls for reforms to the longest format
England’s Women go into their Test against Australia trailing in the multi-format series.
Indian Premier League
IPL news: Lucknow Super Giants name revealed, captain named
Welcome the Lucknow Super Giants to the IPL family.
Jimmy Neesham signs up for Vitality Blast stint with Northants
Jimmy Neesham will join the Steelbacks for the 2022 Vitality Blast.
Joe Root has been named ICC men’s Test player of the year for 2021
The England captain made the third-highest run total ever in a single year.
Brendan Taylor reveals harrowing details of trauma, addiction and corrupt approach
Brendan Taylor says the ICC will shortly announce his multi-year ban for failing to report what he says was a traumatising corrupt approach.
International Cricket Council
ICC Awards: All the winners announced so far for 2021
All the winners honoured by the ICC for 2021.
India lost their way in the middle overs says coach Rahul Dravid
India’s missing middle is a problem.
England in the Caribbean: Moeen Ali admits West Indies batting depth ‘scary’
The five-match series is now all square with one win apiece.
Sam Billings keen to kick on with England: ‘I’ve spent enough time on the bench’
Billings made his Test debut in Hobart before jetting off to Barbados to link-up with the T20 squad.