Australia’s stand-in head coach, Steve Rixon, believes Pakistan poses a significant threat for his team, but has admitted his surprise at Younis Khan and Umar Gul’s omission from the host team for the upcoming series.
Australia take on Pakistan in the first of three ODIs in UAE on August 28 in Sharjah before moving to Abu Dhabi for the second (August 31) and returning to Sharjah for the third match (September 3).
“Both players are outstanding cricketers and I was a little surprised, to be honest, to see them both missing. But it gives opportunity for others to get there. We have to first take a look at the wicket to see whether it is a massive advantage or not,” Rixon, who is serving in place of Mickey Arthur for the ODIs, said.
The coach was also of the view that Pakistan had enough backup talent available in their ranks to make the matchup between the two sides a competitive one.
“Pakistan have got a lot of experience in their side like Shoaib Malik, the likes of Shahid Afridi and Kamran Akmal, who has come back into the side.
“With players like Mohammad Hafeez too in the side, they are a bunch who have played well over 100-odd matches for their county,” he added.
“So I think they have a nice balance with some good kids coming out of Pakistan. They will be very competitive and be very desperate for a win after two disappointing series.”
Despite the hoopla surrounding Australia playing in “extreme conditions” in UAE, Rixon said he was not too concerned about the weather and its affect on his players.
“We have just come out of a camp in Darwin. The weather there was very warm up there, but nothing to compare to over here, I presume. The end result is how you play out in the middle when you get there. We have nothing to lose with that attitude, which I think is an outstanding way to play. We have been the number one in this game for a long time, and we want to make sure we get back to No 1,” the former wicketkeeper, who played in 13 Tests and six ODIs for Australia, said.