Australia’s players ready to go, knowing it will be safe in Pakistan: Andrew McDonald

Australia’s interim head coach Andrew McDonald said on Wednesday the players were confident there would be no safety concerns during their tour of Pakistan thanks to Cricket Australia’s pre-tour processes and the information they were constantly sharing with the tour group.

Days before leaving for their first-ever tour of Pakistan in 24 years, McDonald said there was no doubt about safety on the players’ minds. England and New Zealand in particular canceled their tours of Pakistan last year citing safety concerns, but Australia have named a full-strength squad for both Tests and limited-surplus series.

Australia will host 3 Tests, as many ODIs and a one-off T20I from March 4th to April 5th in Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi.

“I think a lot of those doubts have been dispelled by the process that CA (Cric Australia) went through when he spoke directly about safety and undoubtedly the pandemic with COVID… How does it all look? So yeah, there was a lot of that information that led to this series and I think that information cleared players’ minds and you know they have an option not to tour.

“You get on the plane. That means to me that they are ready to go and know it’s going to be safe and it’s going to be an exciting tour and they’re getting their heads around the cricket versus the other things that might be on their minds.” , McDonald said in a virtual news conference on Wednesday.

The Australia test players, led by Pat Cummins, are currently completing pre-series training in Melbourne and executing quarantine protocols before departing for Islamabad.

“IT’S GOING TO BE A REALLY GOOD COMPETITION”

Meanwhile, McDonald, who was appointed interim head coach following the departure of Justin Langer, said Pakistan had plenty of firepower at home to ensure a good fight between the two sides.

Australia are touring Pakistan with a full-strength Test squad, but senior players such as David Warner, Josh Hazlewood, Glenn Maxwell and Pat Cummins are not part of the limited surplus squad.

“Yes, well, it is difficult to say as far as Pakistan is concerned, and Pakistan is different from Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates. You know, they have some great options, spin bowling options that are fastball,” he said.

“Shaheen Shah Afridi, you know, gets better every year. Tempo with the left arm, swings the ball, can also swing the ball backwards, so they have some exciting players.

“Likewise, we also have some really exciting players. Mitchell Starc and Cummins and Hazlewood and Cameroon Green and our bowling attack is just as exciting. So I think it’s going to be a really good competition. Yes, you say Pakistan it’s unpredictable, but I think in their own terms there is an element of predictability. They like to drag out games. You know, they play the long game, they’re patient and they play their terms well,” he added.

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