Head coach Misbah-ul-Haq is backing Babar Azam to be the key player for a ‘hungry’ Pakistan in the upcoming two-Test series against Australia.
The 25-year-old batting star is averaging more than 50 in both ODIs and T20Is but his Test showings haven’t really been up to the same mark. However, Misbah believes that Babar is now ready to put the record straight in red-ball cricket as well following his unbeaten ton in the recent warm-up clash against Australia A in Perth.
“There is a world of difference between Babar of 2016 and Babar now,” Misbah told cricket.com.au in an interview on Monday.
“He’s now a matured and experienced player. In 2016, he was very new and didn’t have much experience in Test cricket.
“Also, he was batting at number three. Now he’s batting in the middle-order and has the experience of three (more) years on his side.”
Babar had averaged just 11.33 in the three-match series during Pakistan’s 2016-17 tour of Australia. That series ended in a 3-0 whitewash for Australia with Pakistan now having lost all 12 of its last Test meetings against the Aussies Down Under.
Misbah, however, believes his team are ready to arrest that slide as they get ready to battle in the first Test beginning in Brisbane on Thursday.
“Our previous record in Australia won’t put us under pressure,” the Pakistan coach and chief selector stated.
“If anything, it’ll be an opportunity and motivation to win because whatever we couldn’t achieve in the past, we can do now.
“It’s a young and hungry team and it means business. This team wants to take the challenge. We want to give our best, play good cricket and think about winning. We have some positives to take from the last tour (2016-17), too.
We came close winning the Brisbane but dropped catches and the last-wicket partnership in the first innings became the difference between losing and winning. I’m hopeful we’ll do better this time.”
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