Pakistan arrives with confident cubs

Published: Tuesday, November 30, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Perth:A youthful Pakistan cricket squad arrived in Perth bristling with confidence at the daunting task which confronts them in the upcoming Test series against Australia.

The Pakistanis have never won a Test series in Australia and will spend close to a month in Perth as they build up for the first Test with the home nation starting at the Western Australian Cricket Association Ground on December 16.

The Australians, fresh from a Test series victory over Pakistan's arch-enemy India, have also had a clean-sweep series win over New Zealand at home.

But the Pakistanis still believe they can catch the Australians on the hop and coach Bob Woolmer said his young team may have a few tricks in store.

"I hope to surprise Australia," he said on Monday.

"I suppose everyone does these days, don't they? We're expecting a really tough tour, we're looking forward to it. I think we've got a very nice, young, balanced side.

"Probably not quite ready yet, but on the other hand, you never know. They've got some serious talent and maybe we can give someone a surprise."

The Pakistanis have scheduled three tour matches in Western Australia staring with a three-day run out against a Western Australian Second XI on Wednesday.

They will then take on a Chairman's XI in a One-day fixture at Perth's Lilac Hill ground on December 7 before a four-day clash starting on December 9 against the full Western Australian team.

Of the 17-man touring squad, only captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, Yousuf Youhana, Abdul Razzaq and paceman Shoaib Akhtar have played a Test match in Australia.

The busy schedule is designed to have the visitors in peak form heading into the three-Test series and which also includes a triangular One-day competition against Australia and the West Indies.

"We've actually come a week earlier so we can get used to the conditions here," Woolmer said.

"It's not so much the pitches, it's more the light and the brightness and just getting used to Australia in general."

Pakistan has won just four of the 26 Test matches between the two countries in Australia. The other two Tests on this tour will be played in Melbourne and Sydney.

Squad: Inzamam-ul-Haq (capt), Imran Farhat, Salman Butt, Yasir Hameed, Asim Kamal, Younis Khan, Yousuf Youhana, Kamran Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Malik, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Sami, Rana Naved, Danish Kaneria, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Khalil.

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