Lahore: Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq believes they can bounce back from their 2-0 loss in New Zealand when they take on a new-look Australia in a three-Test series next month.
“Australia is not a settled team, and they have made changes in the last [Test] match [against South Africa],” Misbah said in Lahore on Wednesday.
“Their new players are familiar with their own conditions, but at the same time when someone comes new into Test matches, you have a chance to exploit it.”
Australia avoided being whitewashed by South Africa as new caps Matt Renshaw, Peter Handscomb, and Nic Maddinson won the day-night third Test in Adelaide last weekend.
Misbah returned home after losing the first Test in Christchurch because of the death of his father-in-law. He would have missed the second Test in Hamilton anyway, because he was handed a one-match suspension for another slow overrate. He will rejoin the team before the first day-night Test in Brisbane on December 15.
Pakistan’s top order struggled in seaming conditions in New Zealand. They lost nine wickets in the last session in Hamilton to lose by 138 runs.
Only opener Sami Aslam and Babar Azam scored half-centuries in four Test innings. However, Pakistan kept faith in the same 16-man squad for the three Tests against Australia.
“Conditions were difficult in New Zealand with plenty of grass on both wickets,” Misbah said. “But I believe wickets will be better in Australia, and this team has the capability to make a comeback.”
Pakistan, who rose to No. 1 in the Test rankings, slipped to No. 4 after losing in New Zealand. But Misbah said Pakistan wasn’t suddenly a bad team.
“In one series, if your bowlers or batsmen do not perform, you can’t say it’s not a good team,” he said. “We have been taking 20 wickets [in a Test match] in UAE, and I hope the players have learnt their lessons in New Zealand.”
The 42-year-old Misbah, who has already quit ODIs and Twenty20s for Pakistan, has no immediate plans to quit Tests, and said as long as he stayed fit and the team needed him he will play on.
“The team’s confidence level has come down with the recent performances in New Zealand. I am focusing on the Australian series and raising the level of the team and regaining the confidence of players.
“I have said before, you don’t know what happens tomorrow, but I have no fitness problem and hope to play as long as I stay fit. If I felt the team still needs me and I stay fit, I will continue playing.”
Hafeez cleared to bowl again
Pakistan’s premier all-rounder Mohammed Hafeez was on Wednesday cleared by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to resume bowling in international cricket after his action was found to be legal.
The off-spinner was originally suspended from bowling in November 2014, but he was reassessed and permitted to resume bowling in April 2015.
He was reported again during the Galle Test against Sri Lanka (June 17 to 21, 2015) and was subsequently suspended for 12 months in July 2015 after an independent assessment revealed he had employed an illegal bowling action for the second time in 24 months.
But the tweaker was on Wednesday cleared after his tests on November 17 were found to be within the ICC’s permissible amount of elbow extension — within the 15-degree level.
“On November 17, Hafeez underwent a reassessment of his bowling action at the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane where it was revealed that the amount of elbow extension for all his off-spin deliveries was within the 15-degree level of tolerance permitted under the ICC regulations for the review of bowlers reported with suspected illegal bowling actions,” a statement from the global body read.
“The umpires are still at liberty to report Hafeez if they believe he is displaying a suspect action and not reproducing the legal action from the reassessment.”
“To assist the umpires, they will be provided with images and video footage of the bowler’s remodelled legal bowling action,” the statement further read.