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August 27, 2012
Mohammad Hafeez, Pakistan's vice-captain, has said his side is "professional" enough to adapt to the UAE heat. Pakistan haven't won an ODI series against Australia since 2002 but Hafeez said he wasn't looking too much into past records.
"We always try not to keep the past in mind and we're thinking [about this] as a new series," Hafeez said. "Pakistan have been playing away for the last three years and every time we come to this part of the world we always have to adjust. As professionals, we have to adjust according to the situation and conditions. Pakistan have been a better side in last one-and-a-half years and hopefully we'll give our best shot."
Captain Misbah-ul-Haq said the fact that they have not beaten Australia in so long could inspire his team. "Whenever there is such an [instance], it charges the team up extra, [and that helps because] it needs an extra effort to combine and beat an opponent who we have not beaten for some time.
"Pressure is always there, because we are going to play against a top team. But if we win, then we have an advantage and it will help us in future. It helps us improve when we play a top team."
Pakistan have left out Umar Gul and Younis Khan for this series and dealing with their absence could be a challenge. The middle order includes captain Misbah-ul-Haq, while the spinners - Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal and Hafeez - are likely to be relied on heavily.
"Our spinners got some success here against Sri Lanka and England... Ajmal is one of the best in the world and [we have] Afridi. So we have got good spinners for the conditions," Hafeez said. Hafeez, recently, replaced South Africa seamer Lonwabo Tsotsobe as the No.1-ranked bowler in the ICC ODI rankings.
Pakistan's players didn't get a chance to watch the one-off ODI between Australia and Afghanistan in Sharjah but the contest was on their minds when discussing tactics. "Seven or eight wickets fell to quick bowlers, but maybe they [Australia] will be playing more spin on Tuesday," Dav Whatmore, Pakistan's coach, said.
"Pakistan's attack won't revolve around spin, but it's a fairly decent component of our attack and that will certainly be true for us. We are going to bowl more spin than the quicks and it's important that we do that well. In return, whatever they deliver we need to be on our toes to ensure we are good enough to chase totals or set good totals."
Whatmore suggested his team would have the upper hand against Australia, who are without the injured Shane Watson and fast bowler Brett Lee, who retired last month. "Australia have had a retirement or two and an injury so I suppose we can have an edge to start with," said Whatmore. "The timings are different, but it's interesting given the time of the year and the exhausting schedules.
"The opposition is licking their wounds a little bit from their recent performances, Watson is not in the ODIs and Brett Lee has retired and results are not going their way but they can come back pretty hard and try reverse that."
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A collection of fine cricket writing on great cricket feats, and never mind the omissions
Plays of the Day from the first ODI between South Africa and India in Johannesburg