Pakistan cricket team lands in Australia for Test series or honeymoon?
Hasan Ali says players wary of Urdu-speaking Usman Khawaja: Nathan Lyon to lay focus on Pakistan’s No 1 batsman Babar Azam
By News Desk
December 1, 2023 10:26 AM
Pakistan Test cricket team has landed in Australia under the supervision of skipper Shan Masood to play a three-match series starting from December 14, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Friday.
Newly-married Imamul Haq and Shaheen Shah Afridi took their brides along on Australia tour, triggering a debate on social media: Are they on official business or honeymoon?
Video clips of Shaheen Afridi, Imam, captain Shan Masood and Muhammad Hafeez are making rounds on the social media with #honeymoon top trend on X platform (formerly known as Twitter).
Players wary of Urdu-speaking Usman Khawaja
Fast bowler Hasan Ali has maintained that the Pakistan team will remain alert against Australian opening batsman Usman Khawaja who can also speak Pakistan’s national Urdu language.
“He knows Urdu. We are not going to discuss any strategy with Khawaja standing close by. We will keep our distance from him. During Karachi Test, Khawaja used to share our talk with other Australian players,” Hasan Ali said.
Responding to a question, the fast bowler said Australian tour has always been a tough one for Pakistani teams. “Extra bounce has always made it difficult for teams from South Asia to get 20 wickets,” he added.
Hassan Ali said Pat Cummins is the finest bowler in the present Australian lot.
Babar Azam No.1 in Pakistan team: Lyon
Veteran Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon is excited about the prospect of bowling against "superstar" Babar Azam in the three-match home Test series against Pakistan.
Babar, who just resigned as Pakistan captain, has averaged 44.38 in 10 Tests against Australia, including a brilliant 196 in Karachi last year to salvage the match before Lyon removed him at a critical time in the final in Lahore.
Lyon has dismissed Babar five times since 2016, with the batter scoring only 43 runs against the Australian spinner. Babar was also one of the few bright spots from their most recent trip to Australia in 2019-2020, where he scored 97 and 101.
Overall, Babar has scored 799 runs from 19 innings at 44.39 against Australia in Test matches. All of Babar's Test appearances in Australia have come in a losing cause, with Pakistan currently on a 14-match losing streak in Australia.
"Babar, firstly, has been a pleasure to play against but he's also been a massive challenge. He's one of the best batters in the world in my eyes, especially against spin. He's a class player. But think he's a class player against all types of bowling," Lyon told ESPNcricinfo.
"They've got some superstars in the side, and if I'm talking superstars he's the No. 1 in the Pakistan side in my eyes. He played reasonably well out here last time so it's going to be a big challenge for us for sure," Lyon added.
The Pakistan team has now reached Australian capital Canberra from Sydney where they will play their first match against PM-XI.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Cricket Australia’s National Selection Panel (NSP) named the men’s squad for the Prime Minister’s XI match against Pakistan in Canberra.
The four-day fixture against Pakistan begins on Wednesday, December 6 at Manuka Oval.
South Australian batter Nathan McSweeney will captain a strong squad that features six players with experience at Test level. Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Todd Murphy, Jimmy Peirson, and Matthew Renshaw all featured in Australia’s Test squad during the recent Ashes campaign in England.
PM’s XI v Pakistan schedule
December 6-9, 10.30am AEDT
Manuka Oval, Canberra
Broadcast: Foxtel & Kayo Sports
PM XI squad:
Nathan McSweeney (c), Cameron Bancroft, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Nathan McAndrew, Todd Murphy, Michael Neser, Jimmy Peirson, Matthew Renshaw, Mark Steketee, Beau Webster.