Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur is confident leg spinner Yasir Shah will be fit to face Australia in this week’s day-night opening test of a three-match series at the Gabba in Brisbane.
Yasir, who was left out of Pakistan’s final test of the recent series in New Zealand, missed last week’s pink-ball tour match against a Cricket Australia XI in Cairns because of a back injury sustained in training.
“I saw him at the team hotel before I came and he seemed fine,” South African Arthur told reporters in Brisbane. “Which is good because you don’t want to deprive the Australian public the chance to see an unbelievable leg-spinner go about his business. And obviously he is integral to our plans as well.”
Pakistan have never beaten Australia in a test series Down Under and the ability to dismiss their hosts twice in a match will be key to their hopes of doing so in the upcoming contests, which also includes tests in Melbourne and Sydney.
Yasir, who has taken 116 wickets in 20 tests at average of 27.89, is their top-ranked bowler in the ICC test rankings and took 12 wickets at an average of a shade over 17 when Pakistan swept Australia in his debut series in the UAE in 2014.
Arthur, a former coach of Australia, also said he would be looking for a better batting performance from the tourists after their middle and lower collapsed against the Black Caps in Hamilton last month and they lost the series 2-0.
“It’s no secret we need to get some runs,” Arthur said. “Adapting outside our conditions is difficult. It is like Australia playing on the sub-continent but we are working hard on that.”
The opening test, the first day-nighter at the Gabba, starts on Thursday.