Australia tour to Pakistan: Full-strength squad set to be announced

Test cricket
Mitchell Starc The Ashes Pakistan

Australia are set to announce a full-strength squad for the tour of Pakistan scheduled for March.

This after Chief of Selectors George Bailey confirmed on Tuesday that no players have indicated they want to opt-out of the series.

Whilst there have been some safety fears in the country, which is set to host Australia for the first time since 1998, Bailey believes the security plans were “very, very robust and very, very thorough”.

Furthermore, he confirmed they were “well down the track” to confirming the squad for the series after meeting with his Pakistani counterparts on multiple occasions.

“I believe the boards are still working through some of the minor details around that tour, so once that gets the formal tick of approval then we’ll announce the squad post that, but we’re reasonably well down the track,” Bailey told reporters on Tuesday.

Australia’s squad will largely pick itself following their impressive 4-0 series win over England in the Ashes.

Clash of domestic schedule

However, it remains to be seen how the Pakistan tour and Australia’s domestic competitions will be juggled, as there is a clash in the schedule.

The Sheffield Shield is supposed to resume on February 9, which means there will likely be only two rounds of matches prior to Australia’s squad’s departure for Pakistan.

The touring party is expected to leave Australian shored in the last week of February, with the first Test to start in Karachi on March 3.

Bailey, though, is certain a solution will present itself.

“Whether we need to [see any Shield cricket] or not, I’m not entirely sure what opportunity we will get,” Bailey continued.

“But the one thing that I think we have to be really just okay with is that we’ve got to accept what we get at the moment and be flexible.

“I think one of the great things and possibly one of the reasons the players performed so well in the Ashes was there were a number of players who got a good bank of Shield cricket in prior to that series.

“Whether it’s for Pakistan or not, you’d certainly hope that there is an opportunity for some Shield cricket at some stage just because of the competition and to continue to see guys improving and getting the opportunity to show their wares.”