Pakistan look to bounce back in must-win game
ABU DHABI: Pakistan’s head coach Mickey Arthur has promised his team will give their best to bounce back in the third One-day International against Australia in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, while reiterating every time his players go on the field they want to win.
Shoaib Malik-led side are trailing 0-2 in the five-match series after losing the first two matches by identical margins of eight wickets at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
Pakistan are using the series to provide further experience and exposure to their bench strength, a ploy that has produced decent results with Haris Sohail and Mohammad Rizwan scoring centuries and fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain making an impressive debut in game two in Sharjah.
Arthur confirmed there will be no debuts on Wednesday, meaning opener Abid Ali and middle-order batsman Saad Ali will have to wait. Paceman Usman Khan Shinwari will replace Faheem Ashraf — rested from the final three matches — while fellow left-armer Junaid Khan will come in place of Mohammad Abbas.
“We always get castigated for not trying new players and now we are getting castigated for giving opportunities to new players. I think people need to understand that we are a very passionate team,” said the coach. “Every time we go on to the field, we go there to win for Pakistan.”
Pakistan have handed ODI debuts to opener Shan Masood and, fast bowlers Abbas and Hasnain in the first two matches.
“We have called this a tour of opportunities and it is so good to see this boys train and work hard. Yes, they are getting to that standards and they are not there yet. If we can get them there, then Pakistan cricket is going to see some good cricketers, in a good state,” Arthur told a media conference at the Sheik Zayed Stadium here on Tuesday. “We will have new players ready to take over when other players are out of form or injured.”
Arthur said new players were doing their best. “The guys that we have brought in here, their attitudes have been outstanding. I think we got to realise that we have players who are of the international level, the chaps that are here are very good cricketers and will become very good cricketers.
“The other guys have been in the tough system for two years and these guys are only making their way up.
“I’m taking about the likes of Hasnain, Abid Ali and Saad Ali. These guys haven’t been in the environment like this before. Shan has been in and out of the ODI side, Umar Akmal is back and Rizwan has also been in and out. We are trying to increase the depth of Pakistan cricket.”
Australia are on a roll after winning a tough series in India 3-2 and are on trot of five successive One-day International victories with the two triumphs in Sharjah.
Skipper Aaron Finch is in sublime form as the pugnacious right-hander 116 to help Australia chase down 281 on Friday and an unbeaten 153, his highest ODI score to date, to anchor the 285-run chase on Sunday.
Australia, however, will be forced to make at least one change after young pace spearhead Jhye Richardson dislocated his shoulder on Sunday and has since returned home. That change will automatically open doors for Pat Cummins, the most successful bowler with 14 wickets in India.
Cummins went wicketless in the first match in India, before taking 4-29, 3-37, 5-70 and 2-38, and has been in great wicket-taking form.
This match will mark the ODI debut of Asif Yaqoob as the home on-field umpire alongside England’s Michael Gough.
“I am delighted to see my name as an on-field umpire for the first time in my career,” said the 45-year-old Asif. “It is reward of hard work, ability to keep myself abreast with the development of the game and knowledge about the laws of the game.”
The final two matches are in Dubai on Friday and Sunday.
PAKISTAN: Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Haris Sohail, Umar Akmal, Mohammad Rizwan, Shoaib Malik (captain), Imad Wasim, Yasir Shah, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Hasnain, Usman Khan Shinwari.
AUSTRALIA (from): Usman Khawaja, Aaron Finch (captain), Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Ashley Carey, Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Nathan Lyon, Adam Zampa, Jason Behrendorff, Ashton Turner, Kane Richardson.