Pakistan tour of Australia: Men in green gear to level things up for the Benaud-Qadir Trophy

A Pakistan tour of Australia is in the books as Cricket Australia (CA) announced its home fixtures for the 2023-2024 season. The men in green are scheduled to play a three-match test series later this year and will be looking to level up scores with the hosts. This tour will be Pakistan’s third since 2016 and is one of three away test tours that the green shirts are scheduled to play in the World Test championship cycle 2023-2025. Here’s a look at dates, venues, and a highlight of the previous tours.

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Pakistan Tour of Australia

Dates and Venues

The three-match test series will commence on 14th December in Perth, the city will be hosting team Pakistan for the first time. The great Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) will conduct the Boxing Day test match that will begin on December 26. For the final test of the series, Babar and his men will travel to Sydney and the two teams will face off from 3rd to 7th of January at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). Prior to the commencement of all the action, Pakistan will play a four-day warm-up match to acclimatize to the Australian conditions.

Babar Azam’s First Time as Captain

If no changes in captaincy occur, the Pakistan tour of Australia will see Babar Azam leading his side for the first time as a Test captain on Australian soil. The 29-year-old has amassed 278 runs from his previous itineraries under Mishbah-ul-Haq in 2016 and Azhar Ali in 2019. Under Azam, the green shirts have played 18 test matches of which eight were won, six lost and four drawn including a whitewash against South Africa, Bangladesh, and Zimbabwe.

A Highlight of the Previous Tours

Pakistan Tour of Australia 2016

Led by Misbah-ul-Haq, the 2016 Pakistan tour of Australia comprised three test matches and a series of five ODI matches. Unfortunately, the test series were lost 3-0 and the green shirts returned home with a single ODI win. 

2019 Away Tour

The 2019 itinerary to Australia was no different for Pakistan. A series of three T20Is and two tests were played and the men in green couldn’t bag a single win. The only good thing to come out of the test matches were Babar Azam’s heroic ton in the second inning of the first test, and the introduction of Naseem Shah to the cricketing world, who, now has become a household name in Pakistan cricket. 

The Pakistan cricket team was fiercely criticized after their tour failure. Some even suggested that they should stop playing if they don’t know how to. Azhar Ali was sacked from the captaincy in 2020 and young Babar was given the throne. 

Australia Tour of Pakistan 2022

2022 was a spectacular year for Pakistan cricket. The Aussies landed on Pakistani soil after 24 years of waiting. The historic tour included three tests, three ODIs, and a single T20I. The longest format series of the tour was named as Benaud-Qadir Trophy. The Kangaroos were lucky to bag the first trophy after they got away with the third and final test of the series. 

The most prominent feature of this tour was perhaps Babar Azam’s 196 which helped his side draw the second test. The cricket fans and fraternity thoroughly enjoyed the tour and the games saw a different side of Pakistan compared to the aforementioned outings. 

The upcoming down-under visit is of utmost importance for Pakistan. They need to win this to keep their chances of remaining in the race for the Test Championship bright and shining. Also, if Babar is given a chance to lead, the batter will have to do his best as a captain since the recent tests haven’t earned him a good name. He drew a lot of criticism when Pakistan lost two out of three and drew one home test series the previous year. 

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