Not a single Pakistan spinner picked for the tour game against Australia
Pakistan take on Australia in the UAE starting October 7.
Updated - Sep 25, 2018 11:37 pm
The Pakistan A squad that will face Australia in a four-day warm-up game ahead of the 2-match Test series, will not feature a single spinner. However, it is very likely that the series itself will see the spinners playing a major role – Australia have their veteran off-spinner, Nathan Lyon, while Pakistan are likely to bring in Yasir Shah and Zulfiqar Babar.
Speculations are that the hosts have opted to go with an all-pace attack because they want to deny Australia any practice against quality spin bowlers ahead of the series. Top order batsman Asad Shafiq will lead the team against a full-strength Australia; the warm-up game gets underway at the ICC academy in Dubai on September 29. The 14-man squad also will also feature familiar faces Wahab Riaz and Rahat Ali, both of whom have been out of the national side for a while now.
Spinners effective in UAE
Pakistan’s spinners made a clear impact in their previous outing in the UAE in 2014. Zulfiqar Babar and Yasir Shah bagged a total of 26 wickets in the two-Test series. However, their Australian counterparts Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe were not remotely as effective: they shared just 7 wickets among themselves.
Nevertheless, the Aussies have been preparing for spin in the UAE with former Indian cricketer and now consultant Sridharan Sriram. Sriram roped in two spinners from India Pardeep Sahu and KK Jiyas so that they could help the visiting team train against spin.
Australia’s selection suggests that they are aware of the importance and impact of spin in the UAE. While Nathan Lyon remains their frontline spinner, they have also brought in left-armers Ashton Agar and Jon Holland, as well as allrounder-legspinner Marnus Labuschagne.
Pakistan A squad: Sami Aslam, Abid Ali, Iftokhar Ahmed, Asad Shafiq (capt), Usman Saluahuddin, Saad Ali, Agha Salman, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali, Waqas Maqsood, Aamer Yamin, Umaid Asif, Saud Shakeel
After the two Tests, Pakistan and Australia will play 3 T20Is against each other.