As the Test series between Australia and Pakistan approaches, former Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed offered insights into the cricketing spectacle it will be.
Discussing key players and challenges that are to come, the seasoned campaigner, who is part of the Test squad, is enthusiastic about the clash between batting greats — Pakistan's ex-captain Babar Azam and Australian batter Steve Smith —, highlighting the anticipation surrounding the upcoming series.
Describing them as "top-class batters," Ahmed remarked that the series would be a treat for young cricketers and fans alike. The prospect of these two stars going head-to-head adds an extra layer of anticipation to the series, he added.
Recalling a previous encounter between Shaheen Afridi and David Warner, the former captain highlighted the Pakistani speedster's skills against the Australian opener, noting that the cricketing community is eagerly anticipating the rematch between these two formidable players.
"The battle between Afridi's pace and Warner's aggressive batting promises to be a highlight of the series, with fans already buzzing about the potential fireworks on the field," he was quoted as saying.
Commenting on Aussie conditions and the challenge for Pakistan, the Test player shared insights into the unique challenges posed by Australian conditions, particularly as someone who has toured Australia twice as a player.
Acknowledging the toughness of playing Down Under, he emphasised the invaluable learning experiences for Pakistani players. the ex-skipper also warned that banter and lively exchanges on the field are par for the course in Australia, advising the Pakistani squad to be mentally prepared for the tough competition that lies ahead.
Expressing gratitude for the unwavering support of overseas Pakistani fans, Sarfaraz is confident that their presence in Australia will be a source of strength for the team. Anticipating a strong showing from the Pakistani diaspora in the stands, he urged fans to flock to the grounds and cheer for the Test squad during the series, creating an electric atmosphere.
The Pakistan cricket team will play their first Test match against Australia in Perth from December 14 to 18, followed by a Test match in Melbourne, from 26. Sydney will host the last game of the tour from January 3, 2024.
The squad is set to depart from Lahore on November 30.
Shan Masood (captain), Aamir Jamal, Abdullah Shafique, Abrar Ahmed, Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Khurram Shahzad, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Noman Ali, Saim Ayub, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wicketkeeper), Saud Shakeel and Shaheen Shah Afridi.