|Pakistan, Australia change gear for World Twenty20|
05 September 2012
DUBAI: Pakistan and Australia will be looking to tune up for this month’s World Twenty20 championship in a three-match series which starts here on Wednesday.
The Twenty20 series follows a three-match one-day series which Australia won 2-1 but Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez hoped a new format and some fresh players will help his team.
“These matches give both teams a good chance to settle for the mega event,” said Hafeez of the fourth edition of the World Twenty20 to be held in Sri Lanka from September 18 to October 7.
Pakistan finished runners-up to India in the first edition of the World Twenty20 held in South Africa in 2007 and two years later bagged the title in England.
They were losing semi-finalists to Australia in the 2010 edition held in the West Indies.
These stats, Hafeez believed, make Pakistan a good Twenty20 team.
“It’s disappointing not to win the one-day series but the confidence is still high that we have got a good Twenty20 side and I am confident that we can beat Australia,” said Hafeez, who replaced Misbahul Haq as T20 captain in June this year.
Hafeez admitted off-spinner Saeed Ajmal will be the key player after taking ten wickets in the one-day series.
“Ajmal is a world class bowler but we are not depending on him alone,” said Hafeez. “I think other bowlers must support him from the other end.”
Pakistan will be boosted by the return of spearhead Umar Gul who was rested for the one-day series, while allrounders Abdul Razzaq and Yasir Arafat, opener Imran Nazir and paceman Mohammad Sami also make the squad.
Allrounder Shahid Afridi, Pakistan’s top player in Twenty20 cricket, is likely to miss the first and second match (in Dubai on September 7). He may return in the third, also in Dubai, on September 10 after injuring his hand in the third one-day on Monday.
Australia were strengthened by the return of star allrounder Shane Watson, pacemen Ben Hilfenhaus, Clint McKay and Pat Cummins, as well as middle-order batsman Cameron White and spinner Brad Hogg.
Their captain George Bailey was confident that new players will boost the team.
“There’ll be a nice injection of some energy and enthusiasm into the group. We’ll try to find a settled line-up as quickly as possible, particularly with the batting. These will be really important games against Pakistan.
“Any momentum that we can get that we can take into Sri Lanka will be excellent.”
Bailey said allrounder Glenn Maxwell, who hit a match-winning 56 not out in the third one-day, will be a key component for Australia.
“Glenn was someone Mickey Arthur (head coach) and I pushed really hard for (at selection) just because of the x-factor and the versatility that he has,” said Bailey.
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