Australia tour to Pakistan in UAE 2018-19 [Preview]

Australia is scheduled to play Pakistan in the month of October in the United Arab Emirates. The visitors will play two-match Test series followed by three-match T20 Internationals. Tim Paine and co. will kick-start their tour with the Test series. The opening game of the Test series will be played at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on 7th October. The second and final game of the series is scheduled to be played on 16th October at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi.

In the absence of David Warner and Steve Smith, Australia will rely on the likes of Shaun Marsh, Usman Khuwaja and Matt Renshaw to do the bulk of the scoring. Since January 2017, Marsh has scored 743 runs from 13 games at an average of 33.77.

Usman Khuwaja and Mitchell Marsh have produced decent performances for Australia over the last 12-month period. Travis Head has earned his maiden call-up to the Test side after a string of solid performance for Australia A side tour to India.

Aaron Finch has been included in the squad on the basis that he is a good player of spin and would add value to Australia’s batting lineup in the typical subcontinent conditions.

Australia Test Captain Tim Paine has done well in the five-day format and averages 45.22 in the nine matches played against England and South Africa.

Since January 2017, Nathan Lyon has topped the bowling charts for Australia with 83 wickets in 16 games at an average of 27.77.  Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle will be two front-line seamers for the series. Uncapped seamers Michael Neser and Brendan Doggett are included in the squad for the series. Ashton Agar and Jon Holland are spin options for Australia for the Pakistan series to be played in UAE.

On the other hand, Pakistan played excellent cricket in England to draw the two-match Test series. Sarfaraz Ahmed and co. will be focused to do well after a disappointing performance in the recently concluded Asia Cup.

Azhar Ali is the premier batsman for Pakistan in Test cricket. He has been consistently good for the side over the past five years. Azhar will be keen to produce big runs in the upcoming series against Australia.

Asad Shafiq will need to contribute with the bat as he averages 27.37 in the last nine games played for Pakistan. Babar Azam and Haris Sohail will need to big scores for Pakistan to cement their place in Test XI.

Pakistan Test Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed batting form has taken a dip over the past six months and will need to contribute more with the bat in this series.

Imam-ul-Haq and Faheem Ashraf are relatively new faces in the Test squad and will be keen to contribute whenever they get the chance to play in the series.

In the bowling department, Pakistan has been heavily reliant on leg-spinner Yasir Shah, who has produced phenomenal numbers in UAE. Pace bowler Mohammad Abbas has notched up impressive numbers since making his debut for Pakistan in 2017.

Mohammad Amir has been dropped as Wahab Riaz makes a return to the Test squad. Shadab Khan and Bilal Asif are other spin options for the series. Usman Salahuddin, Mohammad Rizwan, and Fakhar Zaman are options in the batting department.

The conclusion of the Test series will be followed by a three-match T20 series. The series will begin from 24th October at Abu Dhabi. The remaining two games will be played at Dubai on 26th and 28th October respectively.

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