The addition of pace bowler Mohammad Abbas is the one certain change being made by Pakistan for the day-night Test against Australia, beginning Friday (November 29) at the Adelaide Oval.
While Abbas has taken 66 wickets at 18.9 in the 14 Tests so far, his record against Australia is even more impressive. When the two teams had played a two-match series in UAE last year, the right-arm seamer took 17 wickets at a phenomenal average of 10.58.
No wonder, his exclusion during Pakistan’s innings and 5 runs defeat at the Gabba last week had grabbed the headlines.
“Definitely there will be some changes,” skipper Azhar Ali said of the team line-up, which will be announced on Friday. Asked if Abbas would be one of those changes, he replied: “Yes.”
“He’s (Abbas) done well in Test matches, he can definitely bring a lot of control and he has worked a lot since the last Test match on his rhythm and he is feeling better,” he said.
“Obviously a bowler of his class, you feel he has something to offer.”
Although Azhar didn’t mention who Abbas would replace, Imran Khan is the most likely candidate after failing to fire in Brisbane. Naseem Shah, 16, might also be rested with Pakistan keen to manage the workload of the teenager.
Pakistan desperately need their bowlers to lift the game if they are to break the streak of 13 consecutive Test losses down under.
Azhar acknowledged Pakistan have long laboured in Australia, with their inability to bowl the opposition out twice their biggest problem.
“A lot of our tours to Australia we have struggled to pick up wickets. We have to control the rate, bowl in good areas for a long time,” the captain said.
“Wickets in Australia, a lot of people say it is bounce, it is pace. But equally it is good for batting as well, so if you can’t bowl well for a long period of time, you can’t put teams under pressure.”
He added: “If we want to pick up 20 wickets we have to execute our plan perfectly.”
(Inputs from AFP)