The much-awaited Pakistan tour of Australia kick-started with a damp squib at the Sydney Cricket Ground with inclement weather and unrelenting rain having the final say on the outcome of the game. In the end, It was sort of a jailbreak for the No.1 ranked T20I side in the world and the Babar Azam-led Pakistan should consider themselves very lucky that they are leaving Sydney with the series still locked at 0-0.
Pakistan batted first and found themselves in a lot of trouble early-on with Mitchell Starc and Kane Richardson accounting for opener Fakhar Zaman (0) and Haris Sohail within the first eleven deliveries. Skipper Babar Azam (59 not out) and wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan (31 off 33 balls) then proceeded to repair the fledgling innings with a 60-run-stand for the third wicket. Ashton Agar accounted for Rizwan against the run-of-play but skipper Azam ensured that he held the innings before rain brought an eventual halt to the innings.
Micky Arthur has his say on Mohammad Irfan
Requiring 119 (the revised target) in 15 overs, Australia only needed to be 0-33 after five overs as per the DLS projections. Skipper Aaron Finch went hammer and tongs against the comeback man- Mohammad Irfan- taking 31 runs from his two overs, taking the total to 0-41 in just 3.1 overs before the rain returned to bring an end to the game.
Irfan made his international comeback after a gap of three years. The left-armer’s selection has been under scrutiny and former coach Mickey Arthur, under whom the tall lanky fast bowler didn’t get much chances to don Pakistani colors, had his say on him.
“Very rusty, Mohammad Irfan. He didn’t play much during my time and that was because we didn’t think he was consistent enough in his areas and we saw that. He was both sides of the wicket, bowled a no-ball. Irfan gives you pace and bounce but is it sustainable over a long period of time? No. He’s going to have to bowl very well to maintain his place in the side because he gives runs away in the field,” Arthur was quoted as saying by pakpassion.net.
“If you’re trying to establish a high-performance culture, a fitness and disciplined culture, he doesn’t give you that. He gives you x-factor, but is it sustainable? Not sure. The lengths he bowls are very good to domestic cricketers but international cricketers take toll on that. That’s a dilemma Misbah and Waqar will face going forward,” he added.
Arthur also gave his insights on how he would have coached batsmen to tackle Mohammad Irfan, “If I was coaching a batsman, I’d say you go deep in the crease for Irfan and look to hit him square because of the extra bounce. That played a bit with Irfan, we saw him miss his lengths. That makes Amir’s job harder. Bowling in partnerships, we didn’t see that at all,” Arthur stated.
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