Australia vs Pakistan: Azhar Ali feels young pacers Naseem Shah, Mohammad Musa will do well in future for visitors

Pakistan will also take solace that the future has arrived in the form of Babar Azam, who came to Australia as the world’s top T20 batsman and departs as a proven test performer

Reuters, Dec 03, 2019 12:11:51 IST

Melbourne: Bringing two uncapped teenage pace bowlers to Australia, a nation unconquered by the greatest of Pakistan sides, was never going to end well for Azhar Ali’s team.

For coach Misbah-ul-Haq, the selections of 16-year-old Naseem Shah and 19-year-old Muhammad Musa reflected a need for “boldness” in a team that has fallen steadily down the world rankings in recent years.

Australia vs Pakistan: Azhar Ali feels young pacers Naseem Shah, Mohammad Musa will do well in future for visitors

Shaheen Shah Afridi was Pakistan's leading wicket-taker in the Test series vs Australia. AP

The 2-0 whitewash by Tim Paine’s side, completed with another innings defeat in Adelaide on Monday, exposed all that for bravado, and Pakistan return home with more regrets than highlights.

Their bowlers had only two cracks at the Australian batsmen and may well have been glad for that, having leaked nearly 1,200 runs in two innings for the return of 13 wickets.

Naseem and Musa managed one wicket between them, legspinner Yasir Shah conceded 100 runs for each of his four scalps and the team’s most experienced quick, Mohammad Abbas, was worryingly down on pace when recalled at Adelaide Oval.

Of the bowlers, only Shaheen Afridi leaves Australia with reputation enhanced, the 19-year-old talent having produced some fiery spells to top his team’s wicket-takers with five victims.

While Pakistan have rarely looked less capable of breaking their test series drought in Australia, a rueful Azhar could at least see a brighter future as the squad’s raw talent matures.

“We didn’t live up to the expectations that were based around this young team,” the skipper told reporters.

“But we felt that these guys were in the best shape to deal with the conditions here, and that’ll be the case in the future."

“We shouldn’t get too disappointed about this and keep in mind that young bowlers like these will only play more cricket and get better. We need to show some patience.”

Pakistan will take some solace that the future has already arrived in the form of Babar Azam, who came to Australia as the world’s top T20 batsman and departs as a proven test performer.

The 25-year-old has been a slow-burning talent in the longest format, but after carving out 104 in Brisbane and 97 in Adelaide on the home pitches of one of the world’s most potent attacks, he will head into the upcoming series against Sri Lanka brimming with confidence.

“He’s been tremendous in white-ball cricket and in the recent past, he’s been gradually building up his test stats as well,” Azhar said of Babar. “But this series definitely will be the breakthrough he wanted.”

Disappointment for Azhar’s team will soon turn into an unfamiliar joy when they play Sri Lanka in Rawalpindi and Karachi later this month, the first tests in Pakistan since militants attacked a bus convoy carrying the Sri Lanka team in Lahore in 2009.

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Updated Date: Dec 03, 2019 12:11:51 IST






Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5046 120
2 New Zealand 3241 112
3 South Africa 3177 102
4 England 4593 102
5 Australia 3672 102
6 Sri Lanka 3795 95
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
6 Pakistan 5019 98
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8366 270
2 Australia 6986 269
3 England 5568 265
4 South Africa 4720 262
5 India 10071 258
6 New Zealand 6056 252