Australia vs Pakistan: Ex-chief selector calls on team to be fearless

| Updated: Dec 21, 2016 15:25 IST

Karachi [Pakistan], Dec. 21 (ANI): Insisting that Pakistan were capable of defeating Australia in the day-night series opener in Brisbane, former chief selector Haroon Rashid has called on the team to learn quickly and be 'fearless' in the upcoming two matches. Rashid believes that the conditions at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) will offer a big contrast to what Pakistan encountered at the Gabba where the hosts escaped a narrow 39-run victory. Chasing a world record target of 490 runs to win, Pakistan's ninth-wicket partnership between Asad Shafiq and Yasir Shah (33) delayed Australia's victory and made their side's impossible chase look easy. However, pace spearhead Mitchell Starc stepped up to break the 71-run stand between the duo and end Shafiq's magnificent knock featuring 13 boundaries and a six. "Pakistan's resurgence was remarkable in the face of a massive [490] target. Having lost six wickets for 220, it was incredible to see them get a record fourth-innings total [450]. I thought Asad Shafiq was quite phenomenal the way he managed the tail to stand with him," the Dawn quoted Rashid as saying. "But we must take into consideration the conditions at the Gabba had eased out and the pink ball wasn't doing much to cause major problems on the last three sessions of the match." Rashid, also an ex-Test batsman, further said that Pakistan should note that the difference between pink and red balls will be a big factor when they play the next two Tests in Melbourne and Sydney. "The red one tends to swing naturally and also aids reverse swing bowling. Moreover, the bounce of a red ball is more pronounced than the pink, which becomes softer quickly once the lacquer wears off." The 63-year-old also urged the team management to make players understand the playing surface in Melbourne will be easier to adapt. "The basic reason is that nowadays drop-in pitches are being used in some of the Australian grounds and the MCG is no exception. On such a pitch the behaviour is tennis-ball bounce and it generally plays consistently," Rashid said. "The problems that afflict teams from the subcontinent are adaptability and adjustably. We Pakistanis are not used to playing on tracks where the ball bounces much more than those they play here. Playing on slow and low pitches of the UAE has definitely made adjustment difficult for our batsmen." The former chief selector further stated that the Misbah-ul-Haq led-side should head into the Boxing Day Test with a positive frame of mind and should be fearless. "I think there is no harm in doing out-of-box stuff. Like giving Sharjeel Khan license to attack [Mitchell] Starc and [Josh] Hazlewood from the onset. We need to think positive and play fearless cricket without worrying about the repercussions," he stressed. "If you look at recent history, Brendon McCullum was one of the fearless cricketers who didn't mind taking risks to achieve the desired results. It's not that the gamble he took came off each time but that's how Pakistan can get rid of the so-called mental block." Rashid also called on the team not to drop too many catches like they did in Brisbane. "This team of Australia's is quite inexperienced and young. Barring [Steve] Smith and [David] Warner and to some extent Usman Khawaja, they have a batting line-up that shouldn't worry our bowlers provided we are not dropping catches regularly as it happened in Brisbane," he said. With this win, Australia have taken a 1-0 lead in the series. They will next lock horns with Pakistan in the second Test at the MCG on Boxing Day. (ANI)