In the aftermath of two consecutive defeats, Pakistan’s cricket team is contemplating a crucial change for the upcoming Sydney Test 2024 against Australia. It appears that opener Imam-ul-Haq could be omitted from the playing XI, making way for the debut of young talent Saim Ayub.
Sources indicate dissatisfaction within the team management regarding Imam’s sluggish batting performance throughout the series, where he has managed 94 runs in four innings at a strike-rate of 31.22.
The management has explicitly communicated its expectations for a more assertive and positive style of play to the entire team, emphasizing the need for a proactive approach.
In addition to potential batting alterations, there’s a strategic decision to ease the workload on vice-captain and key fast bowler Shaheen Afridi. For the upcoming Test starting on January 3, Afridi will refrain from bowling in the nets and is expected to bowl fewer overs compared to previous matches in the series.
Afridi has been a workhorse, having bowled 99.2 overs in the series so far, the highest among both teams. The adjustment aims to keep the pace spearhead fresh for the final Test.
Australia secured the series win by defeating Pakistan in the second Test in Melbourne, where Pat Cummins played a pivotal role with a five-wicket haul in the second innings and earned the Player of the Match award.
With a target of 317 runs, Pakistan fell short, getting dismissed for 237, resulting in a 79-run victory for Australia. The hosts had previously dominated the first Test in Perth, winning by a commanding margin of 360 runs.
As Pakistan strives to break its longstanding streak of poor performances in Australia, losing 16 consecutive Tests since 1995, the potential lineup change and strategic adjustments aim to turn the tide in the upcoming Sydney Test.