Pakistan hopes for 'hopefully not very good' Warner farewell tour

David Polkinghorne
Updated December 3 2023 - 5:11pm, first published 5:07pm

It might be David Warner's swansong against a Pakistan side he's dominated, but Shaheen Afridi hopes he struggles on the way out the door.

Australia captain Pat Cummins speaks about selection for the upcoming Test series against Pakistan. Video courtesy: AAP

Afridi and his Pakistan teammates blew the cobwebs out from a long trip from Pakistan with a training session at Manuka Oval on Sunday.

Having not played red-ball cricket since July, Afridi said the four-day Prime Minister's XI match, starting Wednesday, was a crucial preparation for the three-Test series against Australia.

Despite the whingeing coming out of Queensland, Australian selector George Bailey confirmed the PM's XI game would also be crucial for deciding who comes in to replace Warner after the Pakistan series.

Warner was named in the Aussie squad on Sunday and he planned for the Sydney Test to be his last before retiring.

While he's averaged 83.53 from his 10 Tests against Pakistan, Afridi was determined to make his final campaign a tough one.

"David Warner had a great career. He played really good cricket for Australia - not only for T20, but across all three formats - and he's a wonderful guy," Afridi said.

"For him it's his last series and hopefully not very good against us."

Pakistan fast bowler Shaheen Afridi hopes David Warner struggles in his final Test series before retiring. Picture by Gary Ramage
Pakistan fast bowler Shaheen Afridi hopes David Warner struggles in his final Test series before retiring. Picture by Gary Ramage

Afridi said the PM's game was a crucial preparation for a Pakistan side that's undergone plenty of upheaval recently.

The left-arm quick has been appointed his country's Twenty20 captain in the wake of Babar Azam quitting as skipper following a disappointing ODI World Cup campaign - where Australia were crowned world champions.

Shan Masood will captain the Test team Down Under this summer.

Pakistan fast bowler Haris Rauf made himself unavailable for the Test series, preferring to play in the BBL for the Melbourne Stars - although he's yet to receive clearance from the Pakistan board to play.

While they haven't played much Test cricket recently, Afridi pointed to their position on top of the World Test Championship rankings after winning both of games against Sri Lanka in July.

"That's part of cricket. Sometimes you need those changes, but as a team we're ready," Afridi said when asked about the upheaval.

"We haven't played a Test for four months, but we are all together again and so far our start in WTC is very good.

"We are hopeful that series will help us more."

Afridi said Pakistan has made a strong start to the new cycle of the WTC. Picture by Gary Ramage
Afridi said Pakistan has made a strong start to the new cycle of the WTC. Picture by Gary Ramage

There's been plenty of complaints coming from Queensland because the PM's XI contains four Brisbane Heat players - who will be unavailable for the start of the BBL.

Heat captain Usman Khawaja said the PM's fixture "devalues" the BBL - even though Cricket Australia views it as a genuine trial to help find Warner's replacement having picked Cameron Bancroft, Marcus Harris and Matt Renshaw.

"As ever, there will be opportunities in the short- to medium-term to break into [the Australian] squad and we look forward to seeing the continued strong performances from players who have been performing domestically, many of whom will get a tremendous opportunity in the PM's XI fixture against Pakistan later this week," Bailey said.

David Polkinghorne

David Polkinghorne

Sports journo

Covering the Raiders, Cavalry, cycling and racing, plus everything else that involves sport in the ACT, for The Canberra Times. Basically I love sport and watching it is a full-time job. Email: david.polkinghorne@canberratimes.com.au

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