Pakistan Test captain Misbahul Haq has set a very high goal for himself and the team in the upcoming Test series against Australia — to become the first Asian country to beat the Kangaroos Down Under.
Australia have never been beaten in a Test series by either Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka or Bangladesh in the game’s history and Misbah thinks his players have to be at their ‘very best’ to challenge the hosts.
“At the end of the day what matters the most is how you implement your strategies in the game,” said Misbah. “So to win this [three-Test] series we have to be at our very best when we are on the field. We are up for the challenge and, as I mentioned, I want Pakistan to be the first Asian side to win in Australia. That is the goal we have set as a team.”
He added: “Many great Pakistan teams have been to these shores before but left without winning, so our goal in this series will be to reach unprecedented heights.”
Ready to replicate South Africa’s doings
South Africa recently beat Australia 2-1 in the Test series while visiting and the 42-year-old is ready to take some leaves out of their books to replicate the Proteas’ performance.
“Australia are exciting, challenging and extremely tough to beat at home so we are expecting an interesting series against them,” said Pakistan’s most successful Test captain. “Although they have some new talented faces in the team, the inexperience is something that we can look to exploit. I don’t have any doubt in their abilities but their inexperience, especially in the batting department, can be exploited by the opposition as South Africa did in Hobart.”
He continued: “But we should also keep in mind that they came back strongly in the last Test in Adelaide and also whitewashed New Zealand in the recent one-day series.”
A different [pink] ball game in Australia
Misbah, who led Pakistan to victory in their first-ever day-night Test against West Indies earlier this year, believes the pink ball is doing much more in Australia than it did for them in the UAE.
“The pink ball swung more in our tour match in Cairns against Cricket Australia XI than it did in Dubai where we hosted West Indies for a day-night Test couple of months ago,” explained Misbah. “In the UAE, there was no swing when the ball was new neither was there any movement when we bowled under lights. But in Australia, even in the net sessions that we’ve had at the Gabba, we noticed substantial swing, which could be due to the extra couple of coatings of lacquer on the balls used here. It is a good sign for our bowlers, as they benefited from that swing in the match at Cazaly’s Stadium.”
Ready to bounce back
Pakistan’s recent form in Tests has posed a lot of questions since they were beaten down and out in the last three outings — once against West Indies in the last of the three-match series and later whitewashed 2-0 by the Kiwis in the recently concluded tour to New Zealand.
However, Misbah is optimistic that his team has the ability to bounce back. “Our team has produced wonderful performances in the last five years. We understand that we have not been at our very best in the last three Tests but I feel the team is determined to bounce back,” he said.
“They are hurt by the recent series defeat in New Zealand. But we can look at it positively, as the side now feels more determined to show that we are one of the better Test sides in the world. Everyone is working hard and badly wants to get back to winning ways. There isn’t a better place than Australia to start winning.”
Misbahul Haq wrote for cricket.com.au
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