Pakistan’s stand-in captain Mohammad Hafeez has ruled out the notion that the quick-natured WACA wicket will trouble his side’s batsmen.
Leading his team for the first time in the ODI format at Gabba on Sunday, Hafeez’s 72 paved way for a comprehensive six-wicket victory for Pakistan — their first win in any format against Australia in Australia in 12 years.
With the momentum on their side, the tourists look to secure a 1-2 lead in the five-match series at Perth — where they enjoy a positive win/loss ratio of 4:2.
“The pace and bounce will not make any difference," said Hafeez in a press conference on the eve of the third ODI.
"The attitude that the players show on the field will make the difference."
When a reporter brought Australian pacer Josh Hazlewood’s remarks — about Pakistan batting’s possible struggles at Perth — into Hafeez’s notice, the 36-year-old laughed off before saying: “I can only laugh on it.”
Pakistan were taken aback when Mohammad Irfan and Sarfraz Ahmed returned to their homeland prior to the series commencement. The giant left-arm pacer was replaced by Junaid Khan, who announced his return with tight bowling. He removed Usman Khawaja and David Warner to give Pakistan an early opening in the game, which later helped them restrict the strong batting unit to a mediocre 220.
Pakistan’s captain revealed that the team was banking on Junaid to be the difference between the two sides. “We were looking forward to him [Junaid] to impress us. He is capable of performing better in any condition. He is an experienced player and he has played cricket all around the world,” Hafeez said.
Pakistan find themselves in an unusual spot before going into the third ODI. For the first time in a long time, they are being considered as a potent threat to go up in the series. How things will fare at the pace-friendly WACA is difficult to tell, but Hafeez has set his focus on putting up a “better” show on Thursday.
“We believe in playing better cricket and win the game for Pakistan.”