Pakistan Test captain Shan Masood has backed Sarfaraz Ahmed over Mohammad Rizwan ahead of the Test series against Australia this month.
Before the three-match series, Pakistan team will also face Australia’s Prime Minister’s XI in a four-day match from December 6 in Canberra.
While speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Masood named Abdullah Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq as the opening pair, with Babar Azam set to bat at number four. The captain also hinted at the preference for Sarfraz over Rizwan.
Masood was also upbeat ahead of the series and highlighted the need to accelerate the scoring rate and the importance of putting runs on the board quickly. He also pointed out that bowlers taking twenty wickets will be crucial to the team’s game plans.
The left-hander conveyed confidence in Pakistan's bowling options, citing the inclusion of Wasim Jr for his ability to exploit reverse swing in Sydney. He praised domestic performers Khurram Shahzad and Mir Hamza, emphasising their potential to make an impact.
Masood also paid tribute to David Warner, calling him the best ambassador of the cricket world and acknowledged the emotional significance of the series for the Australian opener. He revealed plans to present different challenges to Warner during the final series.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister XI captain, Nathan McSweeney, conveyed his excitement at the prospect of facing off against Pakistani stars, particularly singling out Babar Azam and Shaheen Shah Afridi. McSweeney noted that despite seeing them on television, playing against them in a first-class match would be a unique and challenging experience.
McSweeney announced that Cameron Bancroft and Marcus Harris would open the innings for Australia, expressing respect for the Pakistani bowling attack. He acknowledged the talent of Pakistan's bowlers and emphasised Australia's commitment to playing their best cricket in the series.