Masood eager to face-off with Starc

Pakistan opener is keen on facing Australia’s best bowling attack

Masood eager to face-off with Starc PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan opener Shan Masood did not shy away from the prospect of a battle with Australia’s Mitchell Starc, ahead of the two-match Test series between the two sides.

After pacer James Pattinson’s abuse ban, Cricket Australia said that the quick would not be replaced in the squad for the Test series against Pakistan, Starc is likely to play alongside Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood in Australia's pace attack for the match at the Gabba — which is scheduled to begin on Thursday, November 21

“You obviously like facing what you have faced before but look Mitchell Starc is a great bowler. He has done well for Australia for a number of years and he is the lead of that bowling attack and has been for several years,” said Masood while responding to a question about his preference to face Starc versus other Aussie bowlers, in a press conference on Monday.

“We want to play against the best and it’s when you play against the best when it counts the most so I mean whatever Australia put out we are ready to face that,” he added.

The left-handed opener also heaped praise on prolific Australia batsman Steve Smith but admitted that Pakistan were not planning against just one batsman.

“I think he has done that very well and his stats speak for themselves. He’s a great player but you can’t go in with a plan for just one batsman. I think they’ve got a very good side, especially in their own home conditions as well and they’re always a tough side to beat in Australia and even away. So we can’t get into the trap of just planning against Steve Smith. I think if we stick to our strengths and respect the conditions and respect the opposition I’m sure we’re here to put a good show as well,” he said.

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The 30-year-old also spoke about the importance of the World Test Championship and its role in making the longest format of the game more interesting.  

“We are still settling in terms of accepting the World Test Championship. This is going to be our first representation of it. The points that are available in both Test matches are significant because it’s a two Test match series,” he said. “I don’t think there will be added pressure as it will be an added incentive that nothing will be a dead rubber here. Even a single win would be good but look as the World Test Championship has started we will be looking to get as much points as possible from this particular outing.”

He also responded to former Australian cricketer Dean Jones’ comments about Pakistan’s lack of preparation heading into the series.  

“Everyone has a right to an opinion. If something people say is not possible imagine getting those results in your way. So it’s a great opportunity and all of us in the dressing room look at this as an opportunity. If it doesn’t happen we will learn from it but if we do succeed over here it will be history in the making, as we’ve seen Pakistan’s record in Australia before. It’s a huge opportunity and whoever raise their hands and steps up — they’re in for a very good career,” he concluded.