Babar Azam is world class: Nathan Lyon

Australia off-spinner is keeping a close on various Men in Green players ahead of the Test series

Babar Azam is world class: Nathan Lyon PHOTO: AFP

Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon is keeping a close eye on various Pakistan players, who can cause problems to the hosts in their upcoming two-match Test series against Pakistan.

While speaking to at a cricket event in Sydney, the off-spinner marked Pakistan’s top-order batsman Babar Azam and Test skipper Azhar Ali as key threats who can turn the game on its heads when required.

“They’ve got some X-factors in there,” said Lyon. “The likes of Babar with the bat — he’s world class. But the captain Azhar Ali, he’s absolutely exceptional; He had a great series last time they were out here [406 runs at 81.20].”

“They’ve got world class throughout the whole squad so we’re going to have to make sure that we’re doing our best job preparing well,” he added.

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Lyon believes the key to rattle the visitors will be to keep them under pressure for extended period of time.

“When we get the opportunity, we’ve got to challenge their defence for long periods of time as bowlers, and hopefully our batsmen can bat for long periods as well,” he said.

Pakistan has always struggled in Australia as they have lost their last eight consecutive Test series down under.

However, the last time Pakistan toured Australia in 2016, they almost pulled off an incredible chase of 490 runs in a day-night Test in Brisbane, as they fell short by only 40 runs in the fourth innings.  

This is the reason why Australia pacer Josh Hazlewood is not ready to take the Men in Green lightly as he is wary of the visitor’s unpredictable nature.

“Probably not knowing what to expect of Pakistan is their greatest threat,” said Hazlewood. “Just when you think they’re in doubt is when they can pull out a performance, just like last time they were here.”

“It’s that unpredictability with Pakistan which is their biggest threat,” he added.

Pakistan will play three Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) in Australia, with the first match due to be played in Sydney on November 3.

The T20Is will be followed by two Tests, in Brisbane and Adelaide, later that month.