BSP-16 ‘Great opportunity’ for Australia’s new boys, says Paine

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‘Great opportunity’ for Australia’s new boys, says Paine

DUBAI, Oct 6, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Australian captain Tim Paine hopes his team
will move on from the ball-tampering row and start a new era when they face
Pakistan in the first Test in Dubai on Sunday.

Australian cricket was rocked by the ball-tampering row in the Cape Town
Test against South Africa in March this year, the fallout resulting in year-
long bans for then captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner.

Opening batsman Cameron Bancroft, caught by television cameras using
sandpaper to try and scuff up the ball, was suspended for nine months.

It also led to coach Darren Lehmann stepping down and being replaced by
Justin Langer, with both the new coach and Paine promising to reshape the
culture around the team. “I think what happened was unfortunate but we have
to move on. We are fortunate enough to be getting back together after what
happened,” Paine said on Saturday.

Wicketkeeper Paine assumed the captaincy midway through the scandal-hit
Cape Town match, and took the first step to improve Australia’s public image
in the next Test at Johannesburg by introducing a pre-match handshake with
the South African players.

Both teams will also shake hands ahead of the Dubai Test, with Aaron
Finch, Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne all set to make their Test debuts
for Australia.

“It’s a great opportunity for some new players, new coach, but still the
Australian Test team hasn’t changed. It’s a little bit of a new era, but we
are hopeful that the guys who were involved will be back in the next six or
eight months,” said Paine of the banned trio.

Australia face a trial by spin as has so often been the case on their
tours to Asia.

In the space of six years, they have lost 12 of their 15 Tests —
recording only two wins with one draw — on tours of India (twice), Sri
Lanka, Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates.

– ‘Phenomenal record’ –

They lost 2-0 to Pakistan in the UAE in 2014, with Yasir Shah taking 12
wickets and left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar, who is no longer in the
international set-up, claiming 14.

“Yasir is clearly a world-class bowler who’s got a phenomenal record at
this ground in Dubai. We’re going to have to take everything we’ve been
working on,” said Paine.

“We’ve faced a hell of a lot of spin, there’s no doubt about that and
Australian touring sides always do,” said Paine.

Former Indian cricketer Sridharan Sriram, serving as a consultant with
Australia, brought two Indian wrist-spinners, Pardeep Sahu and the left-arm
KK Jiyas, to the UAE for net practice ahead of the Tests.

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed made clear he will attack Australia through
Yasir.

“When we played Australia in 2014 we played some attacking cricket,” said
Sarfraz. “Yasir is our main bowler so we will want him to attack and get us
wickets to win the series.

“But similarly we will not put extra pressure on him and will not want him
to go in a defensive mode so other bowlers will have to support him.”

Pakistan will also have 33-year-old off-spinner Bilal Asif, who played
three one-day internationals in 2015 but has yet to play a Test.

Recalled all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez could too prove dangerous for
Australian left-handers.

The second Test is in Abu Dhabi starting on October 16. The teams will
play three Twenty20 internationals after the Test series.

Teams: Australia: Tim Paine (capt), Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Jon Holland,
Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh,
Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc

Pakistan (from): Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Azhar Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar
Azam, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Yasir Shah, Shadab Khan, Bilal Asif,
Mohammad Abbas, Wahab Riaz, Mir Hamza

Umpires: Richard Illingworth (ENG) and Richard Kettleborough (ENG)

TV umpire: Sundram Ravi (IND)

Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)

BSS/AFP/ARS/1954 hrs