Whitewashed in each of their last five Test tours of Australia, optimism will be in short supply for Pakistan ahead of a three-match series starting in Perth next week, with new captain Shan Masood’s task made even more difficult by a depleted bowling corps.

The last time Pakistan won a Test Down Under was in late 1995 when nearly half of the current side were not even born, and in Pat Cummins-led Australia, they face the reigning world Test champions.

Pakistan’s unpredictability means they can never be ruled out but their chaotic buildup to the series makes the tourists tough to back in Australia.

Masood inherited the Test captaincy from Babar Azam, who stepped down as all-formats skipper last month in the wake of their failure to make the semi-finals of the 50-overs World Cup in India.

Pakistan were not exactly spoiled for choice for the role but in Masood, they have a level-headed leader who can shoulder the burden of the Test captaincy while allowing Babar to focus solely on being the team’s batting bulwark.

A major concern for Pakistan is their bowling unit, which is usually their strong suit.

Pace spearhead Shaheen Afridi has not looked the same since returning from a knee injury and is a lesser force without Naseem Shah, recovering from a shoulder injury, operating from the other end.

Pakistan could do with the rapid pace of Haris Rauf but he has declined an offer to be part of the Test squad — the limited-overs specialist opting instead to play in Australia’s franchise-based Big Bash League.

Masood has asked for 400-plus totals from his batters but that will not be easy on lively Australian pitches against the likes of Cummins and Mitchell Starc.

“It’s the pace and bounce in Australia, along with their pace attack and Nathan Lyon, which you want to get used to and put under pressure from the word go because they’ve dominated world cricket for a while,” Masood said.

The Pakistan captain will hope to have set the tone for their tour with an unbeaten double hundred in the ongoing tour match in Canberra.

Opinion

Editorial

Elections in India
Updated 21 Apr, 2024

Elections in India

Independent accounts and spot reports are at variance with Modi-friendly TV anchors and they do not see an easy victory for the Indian premier.
IHC letter
21 Apr, 2024

IHC letter

THIS is a historic opportunity for the judiciary to define its institutional boundaries. It must not be squandered....
Olympic preparations
21 Apr, 2024

Olympic preparations

THIS past week marked the beginning of the 100-day countdown to the Paris Olympics, with the symbolic torch-lighting...
Isfahan strikes
Updated 20 Apr, 2024

Isfahan strikes

True de-escalation means Israel must start behaving like a normal state, not a rogue nation that threatens the entire region.
President’s speech
20 Apr, 2024

President’s speech

PRESIDENT Asif Ali Zardari seems to have managed to hit all the right notes in his address to the joint sitting of...
Karachi terror
20 Apr, 2024

Karachi terror

IS urban terrorism returning to Karachi? Yesterday’s deplorable suicide bombing attack on a van carrying five...