PAK vs AUS: Adapting to Pakistan conditions will be exceptional challenge for Australia, says Shane Watson
PAK vs AUS: Former Australia allrounder Shane Watson predicted an entertaining series as his former team visit Pakistan in March for a multi-format series.
For the first time since 1998, Australia will play a three-match Test series in the south Asian country, and Watson is anticipating an action-packed contest with crucial ICC World Test Championship points on the line.
“I am super excited as I know how much the Pakistan people have starved of cricket. They are so cricket obsessed and love nothing more than watching Pakistan play and especially live cricket at home,” Watson said on an episode of The ICC Review.
“I was fortunate to play a few Pakistan Super League’s over there. And it was one of the most amazing experiences I have had in my life. It is brilliant that Cricket Australia have gone to great lengths to make sure they have got all the information they need to make sure the players’ minds are at ease around the security side of things, so it is going to be a brilliant series,” he added.
Australia has named an 18-man team for the series. With uncapped fast Mark Steketee drafted in to replace the injured Michael Neser, and uncapped paceman Brendan Doggett on standby in case of additional injury.
Three spinners have been chosen in Australia’s touring group. With leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson and left-armer Ashton Agar joining Nathan Lyon, an experienced off-spinner.
But Watson has warned Australia against tinkering too much with their already formidable bowling attack. Claiming that the wickets in Pakistan will not provide much for either bowling line-up.
“From my experience playing the Pakistan Super League, the (pitches in Pakistan) are great batting wickets,” Watson noted.
“The ball doesn’t really turn a lot and certainly not as much as it did when Pakistan played in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.”
“I think it is going to be an exceptional challenge for the Australian team to try and adapt to the Pakistan conditions. When they haven’t been there for so long and how they will try to develop their game plan.”
“But for world cricket, it is going to be great to get a big tour back to Pakistan. And I know Pakistan people are so excited and the fans will be coming out in their droves to watch.”
Despite his allegiances to both groups, Watson is sticking to his birth country. When it comes to predicting who will win the series.
“I would surprised if Australia don’t get up. Just knowing the Australian bowlers and how well they bowled (against England) during the Ashes,” he said.
“It was relentless fast bowling across the board and everyone really complemented each other really well. And Pakistan are going to need to bat out of their skins just to stay in the game.
“My gut is telling me Australia will win the series if they score enough runs. As I believe their bowlers will be good enough to put the Pakistan batters under a lot of pressure.”
The first of three WTC Tests begins on March 4 in Rawalpindi, followed by three ODIs and one T20I.