Australia players ready to go, clear in their mind that it’s going to be safe in Pakistan: Andrew McDonald

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Australia’s interim head coach Andrew McDonald said on Wednesday that the players are clear in their mind that there will be no safety concerns during their tour of Pakistan, thanks to Cricket Australia’s pre-tour processes and the information they kept sharing with the touring group.

Days ahead of the departure for their first-ever tour of Pakistan in 24 years, McDonald said there in no lingering doubt about safety in the players’ minds. Notably, England and New Zealand canceled their tours of Pakistan last year, citing security concerns but Australia have named a full-strength squad for both Tests and limited-overs series.

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

“I think a lot of those doubts were alleviated by the process that CA (Cric Australia) went through directly talking about security and no doubt the pandemic with COVID… What does that all look like? So yeah, there was a lot of information flowing leading into this series, and I think that information has cleared the thoughts of the players and you know they do have an option not to tour.

“They’re jumping on the plane. So that to me says they’re ready to go and they are clear in their mind, that it’s going to be safe and it’s an exciting tour and they’re getting their heads around the cricket as opposed to the other things that potentially can pop into their mind,” McDonald said in a virtual press conference on Wednesday.

The Australia Test players, led by Pat Cummins, are currently undergoing pre-series training in Melbourne and completing quarantine protocols before they depart to Islamabad.

‘IT’S GOING TO BE A REALLY GOOD CONTEST’

Meanwhile, McDonald, who was appointed as the interim head coach after Justin Langer’s exit, said Pakistan have a lot of firepower at home conditions to ensure a good contest between the two sides.

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

“Yeah, well, it’s difficult to tell in terms of Pakistan and Pakistan is different to Pakistan in the UAE. You know, they’ve got some great options, spin bowling options that, you know, fastball,” he said.

“Shaheen Shah Afridi, you know, keeps getting better every year. Left-arm pace, swings the ball, can reverse swing the ball as well, so they got some exciting players.

“Equally, we’ve got some really exciting players as well. Mitchell Starc and Cummins and Hazlewood and Cameroon Green and our bowling attack is equally exciting. So I think it’s going to be a really good contest. Yeah, you say that Pakistan is unpredictable, but I think in their own conditions is an element of predictability. They like to draw games out. You know, they play the long game, they’re patient and they play their conditions well,” he added.

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