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Sunday February 25, 2024

Pakistan to play ‘aggressive’ cricket against Australia: Shan

By AFP
December 06, 2023

CANBERRA: Pakistan captain Shan Masood made his intentions clear that the team wants to play a positive brand of cricket to keep pace with the changing landscape of the longest format of the game while also stressing that his men will take it one day at a time.

Shan is set for a tough challenge as Pakistan begin the new era with a 3-Test series in Australia, a country where they won a Test match last in 1995. However, the left-handed batter said he is looking forward to the series against Australia and viewing it as an opportunity to showcase their brand of cricket against one of the best sides in the world, the reigning World Test champions.

Pakistans captain Shan Masood speaks during a press conference at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore on November 29, 2023. —AFP
Pakistan's captain Shan Masood speaks during a press conference at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore on November 29, 2023. —AFP

Pakistan began their new cycle of World Test Championship with a 2-0 sweep of Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka and a series win in Australia will boost their chances of making it to the final of the WTC 2023-25. However, it’s not going to be easy as Pat Cummins and his men are heading into the series on the back of the World Test Championship final and the Ashes.

Speaking to reporters in Canberra on the eve of their 4-day tour game against Australian Prime Ministers XI, Shan Masood said Pakistan are looking to create an identity for themselves in Test cricket.

“i think we have spoken together a a team to play with positive mindset and an aggressive mindset. Whenever we get an opportunity to put the opposition under pressure, we will look to jump on it. Test cricket has changed a lot. Time factor is important. According to it, as a batting unit, our scoring rate has to improve a bit. And we need to be equipped and determined to take 20 wickets. These are the basics of Test matches. We will try and do our best to do these things properly,” he said.

“We are now looking to create an identity for ourselves as a cricket playing team. We will look to build a brand of cricket. This is an early stage. This is a great opportunity for us to execute our skills and show what we are capable of against the best team in the world. It’s a step-by-step process. Tomorrow, we are playing a crucial match, we will know where we stand,” he added.

Shan also stressed that Babar Azam, their ‘best batter’, will continue to play at No. 4 and hinted Pakistan might play both Sarfaraz Ahmed and Mohammad Rizwan in the XI.

Sarfaraz Ahmed made a sensational return to Test cricket after being away from the format for close to 3 years during a home series against New Zealand, hitting 3 fifties and a hundred. He then went to Sri Lanka earlier this year where he was ruled out of the 2nd Test due to concussion.

“Babar in Tests has played at No. 4. When he started out, he played from No. 3 to No. 6, but over the last few years, he has settled at No. 4. He is our best batter and we want to build our line-up around him. Imam and Abdullah have been opening for the last 18 months. I will play at No. 3. Over the last year, I have played at No. 3 in red-ball cricket,” he said.

“in the last full series, Sarfaraz returned and won the Player of the Series award. Unfortunately, he suffered concussion in Sri Lanka. He was one of the best batters in 2016 in Australia. Rizwan also scored here in 2019. You never know, one of them might play as a pure batter. We will look at the conditions and take that call,” he added.

Pakistan will begin the Test series in Perth on December 14 before playing the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne and the New Year’s Test in Sydney.