By BV Swagath
The first of the three ODIs between Pakistan and Australia for the Bank Alfalah presents Cool & Cool Cup 2012 will begin tomorrow evening at Sharjah. The match is scheduled to begin at 6:00 PM local and will go on beyond midnight. So it will be a rare occurrence that an ODI Series will be played completely under moonlight with each match played on two dates as per calendar. The reason for these unique timings is to help the players escape from the day time heat of the desert conditions in the UAE.
Although the matches begin in the evenings, the players are going to struggle because of the oppressive heat conditions. Australia already experienced that in their One-off ODI against minnows Afghanistan the other day. Pakistan are a better equipped side to the hot conditions in the UAE having frequently played their home series in this part of the world.
Pakistan seems to have the edge over Australia in this 3-ODI Series with the pitches expected to be on the slower side and taking turn. Like always, Saeed Ajmal will be tough to handle and he will be backed up by quality spinners like Abdur Rehman, Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Hafeez. The problem for Pakistan continues to be their unreliable batting line-up. Australia have the bowling to rattle up the Pakistani top order with the likes of Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson and Mitchell Johnson.
Australia ODI Squad: David Warner, Matthew Wade (Wicket Keeper), Michael Clarke (Captain), George Bailey, Callum Ferguson, Michael Hussey, David Hussey, Daniel Christian, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Johnson, Xavier Doherty, James Pattinson, Alister McDermott, Mitchell Starc
Pakistan ODI Squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (Captain), Nasir Jamshed, Mohammad Hafeez, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Kamran Akmal (Wicket Keeper), Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanvir, Aizaz Cheema, Saeed Ajmal, Imran Farhat, Shoaib Malik, Abdur Rehman, Junaid Khan and Anwar Ali