Hoping for change in luck with change in format

SHARJAH- Pakistan’s head coach Waqar Younis yesterday raised hopes his team will fare better in the upcoming Tests against Australia after suffering a 3-0 whitewash in the recent one-dayers.

The countries are now preparing for a two-match Test series which starts with the first Test in Dubai from October 22, and the 42-year-old Waqar, appointed in May this year, said good things will come in the five-day format.

“I’m hoping for something good to happen in the Tests,” said Waqar. “It’s a different ball game and we have experience back in the side with Younus Khan and Azhar Ali, so I am hoping that we start delivering now.”

Pakistan face another tough challenge against an Australia side they have not beaten since a 1-0 win at home in 1994, when Waqar took seven wickets in the victory in Karachi.

After that, Pakistan lost 13 straight Tests against the Australians — three in 1999 in Australia, three on neutral ground in Sri Lanka and the UAE in 2002, three each in Australia in 2004 and 2010 and then when they clashed at Lord’s in July the same year.

They did recover to win in Leeds later that summer, but Waqar admitted Australia are tough to beat.

“Look, you have got to think that they are the number one team, their system is just so good that they produce good cricketers, [but] we would love to win the series with a positive frame of mind,” said Waqar.

‘Adjusting to Ajmal’s absence will take time’

Waqar believed moving forward from the absence of ace spinner Saeed Ajmal – suspended because of an illegal bowling action last month – will take some time.

“It’s a big hole when Ajmal is not there when you are playing on slow and dry pitches here. It’s going to take time but I am sure the youngsters will come good,” said Waqar, who showed disappointment at losing the one-day series.

“In a way I’m disappointed, we could have won a couple of games out of those but unfortunately we couldn’t finish.

“But I am honestly pretty happy with the youngsters. I think we are building into a very fine side, the talent is there and it’s a matter of time.”

The second Test will be played in Abu Dhabi from October 30