Still recovering from six straight defeats in Test cricket Pakistan is now all set to play five One Day Internationals (ODIs) against World Cup champions, Australia. The series would commence in Brisbane from Friday, the 13th of January, 2017. It is worth mentioning here that Pakistan’s performance in the limited over versions of the game during the past 24 months or so has been horrific to say the least owing to which they are now placed at number 8 in the ICC ODI rankings.
Recent statements from the bosses at Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) suggest that in case of another series loss, Azhar Ali is most likely to be sacked as the ODI skipper. Therefore, Azhar will go into the series under massive pressure not only to secure his captaincy but also to keep his place in the playing eleven.
Moreover, the likes of Sharjeel Khan, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Muhammad Rizwan, Umar Akmal, Muhammad Hafeez, Muhammad Amir, Junaid Khan and Wahab Riaz too find themselves under considerable pressure to retain their place in the squad that is to tour West Indies next. Winning the upcoming Pakistan vs Australia series is thus, crucial for virtually every member of the squad.
Australia on the other hand are coming off a brilliant ODI series win against the Kiwis and are likely to experiment a little in order to provide sufficient rest to their key players who will be touring India within the next few weeks.
With a batting line that lacks spark and the ability to rotate strike; a bowling lineup that neither has the skill to swing the new ball, nor to reverse the old; and a fielding unit that remains sluggish, there is little hope of the Pakistan vs Australia series going in the former’s favour.
That said, Pakistan has always been unpredictable and generally performs well when no one really expects them to. Thus, the Aussies think tank despite possessing a better side cannot afford to take things lightly and go complacent.
A couple of victories should go a long way in rebuilding the confidence of the Pakistani boys and would definitely help Pakistan towards an automatic qualification for the next World Cup that is to be played in England in 2019.