LAHORE: Batting great Greg Chappell while welcoming Australia returning to Pakistan for a full series after 24 years, reckons both the teams will need to bat well noting the strength of each side is bowling in the three-Test series starting on Friday.
“It is good to see Australian team back in Pakistan again. I am looking forward to this series,” the 73-year-old Chappell told Dawn in an exclusive interview from Australia.
Commenting on the Test battle starting in Rawalpindi, former captain Chappell said batting from both the sides would be an important factor.
“Pakistan and Australia are well balanced sides so it should be a good series. Both teams will need to bat well because the strength of each team is their bowling,” the right-handed batter, who played 87 Tests for Australia from 1970 to 1984 scoring 7,110 runs at a fine average of 53.86, underlined.
Despite the home advantage with Babar Azam’s Pakistan, Chappell hoped Australia would overcome all the hurdles that come their way.
“Pakistan have the advantage because of [the] home conditions but I think Australia will acquit themselves very well,” he said.
Interestingly, the former Australian skipper said Pakistan would not be concerned over injuries to some of their players, including Hasan Ali, Mohammad Nawaz and Faheem Ashraf, and Haris Rauf (who tested positive for Covid-19).
“They have good depth; I think they will cover any losses.”
Chappell as captain toured Pakistan back in early 1980 when his team lost a three-match rubber 1-0. The tourists lost the opening Test in Karachi and the remaining two matches in Faisalabad and Lahore ended in drab draws mainly due to overwhelmingly batsmen-friendly pitches.
In Faisalabad after Australia posted a massive 617 courtesy Chappell’s 235, the captain used the entire playing XI for bowling on a batting featherbed as Pakistan eased to 382-2 with no chance of a result, prompting legendary Aussie speedster Dennis Lillee to call the pitch ‘a graveyard of fast bowlers’.
Chappell hoped the series in Pakistan would be held smoothly.
“I hope the series can go off without [any] incident. The Australian team has been very keen to come to Pakistan and I know from personal experience that the security will be very good,” he said.
He appreciated naming the Pakistan-Australia Test series after legendary players Richie Benaud and Abdul Qadir.
“I am very pleased that two great leg-spinners have been given the honour of having the series named after them. Richie [Benaud] was a champion and I have always had great regard for Abdul Qadir who was one of the best exponents of the art of leg-spin and was a wonderful ambassador for spinners and the game. He would have been delighted to have such an honour,” Chappell remarked.
Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2022