Australia to play 'hard but fair' against Pakistan, says Paine

Australia will take on Pakistan in a two-Test series next month in UAE. The team will leave for the Gulf state today.

As Australia prepares for life beyond the ball tampering saga, captain Tim Paine says the team will continue to play aggressively.   -  AFP

Australia captain Tim Paine on Thursday reiterated that his team will look to play 'hard but fair' cricket when it takes on Pakistan in a two-Test series in UAE next month.

"We're going there to win and play the way Australian teams are known for playing, which is really hard," Paine said.

Wicketkeeping great Ian Healy had earlier,  in a chat with Sportstar,  expressed concern over the way the current crop of Australian cricketers go about expressing themselves on the field. "I believe Australia has played with excessive aggression in recent years . It is a sign of a lack of confidence in their skills," Healy had remarked before adding, "Mental aggression is needed in sport not so much physical and verbal."

While Paine concurred that playing with an aggressive mindset has been "the Australian way", he added a caveat.

"The idea has always been to play hard but to play fair and that will be no different this (Pakistan) series. There are always a lot of eyes on the Australian cricket team wherever we play so that is going to be no different," the wicketkeeper batsman noted.

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As Australia prepares for life beyond the ball tampering saga, Paine is aware that a tour to the UAE poses a uniquely tough challenge.

Australia hasn't won a Test series in the subcontinent since 2011, and its batsmen's ability to tackle spin on the low and slow pitches has always been a bone of contention.

Add to it the heat and humidity that accompanies the playing conditions,  and head coach Justin Langer and Co. have a daunting task at hand.

"The idea has always been to play hard but to play fair and that will be no different this (Pakistan) series. There are always a lot of eyes on the Australian cricket team wherever we play so that is going to be no different."

 

"We have to be really careful with all our quicks over there, it is going to be over 40 degrees and really high humidity," Paine said.

Earlier, Australia-A teams had toured India for a quadrangular series followed by two four-day 'Tests' to better adjust to the challenges.

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Pacers Brendan Doggett and Michael Neser , in the squad for the Pakistan Tests,  fared well in the heat of Bengaluru and bowled with good pace and accuracy. However, Paine's biggest worry will be of injury prone pace spearhead Mitchell Starc.

"We are going to have to be clever about how we use our bowlers – Starcy in particular who is a strike weapon. So, I expect him to be bowling short spells and as fast as he can," Paine remarked.

 The Australia team will leave for UAE on Wednesday.

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