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Australia

Australia turn to Indian wrist-spinners to counter Pakistan

Australia news

Australia have roped in two wrist-spinners from India to prepare for their upcoming two-Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.

The last time Australia toured the UAE, in 2014, leg-spinner Yasir Shah troubled the visitors considerably in a two-match series, picking up 12 wickets as Pakistan won 2-0. Shah's partner then was left-arm spinner Zulfikar Babar, who bagged 14 wickets. This time around, they’ll have to contend with 19-year-old Shadab Khan, another highly-rated leg-spinner, along with Shah.

Australia, however, are doing everything they can to ensure the players are as prepared as they can be to tackle spin – they have enlisted former India all-rounder Sridharan Sriram as consultant once again, and he has brought with him two wrist-spinners: Pardeep Sahu, the former Haryana man, and KK Jiyas, the 26-year-old from Kerala.

“In the past, we’ve probably come into the series, worked hard on spin but not specifically on their bowling, what deliveries they bowl, and the cues to watch as batters. We’ve been lucky enough to get a couple of guys come in, very good spin bowlers,” veteran paceman Peter Siddle said.

“The big focus is obviously that they’ve got two star leg-spinners. Yasir Shah, who we’ve played before, obviously a great player. And Shadab Khan, who’s been playing and we expect in the line-up. We’ve got a contest against those two guys, we’re having good discussions about it – different deliveries, what to watch (and so on).

They're definitely helping the batters in this group, they've learnt a lot in the couple of days they've got to work with them

“It’s been good for us tail-enders as well to hear from different batters, the way they go about it, the way they watch the ball. It’s nice to hear from them and it gives us something to work on in the nets, and I definitely think it’s helped me personally, and the other guys will definitely learn a lot from it.”

Sahu, who played 13 first-class matches between 2002 and 2010, fielded questions from the Australian batters, was seen explaining wrist-spin variations, and how to pick them.

Yasir Shah spun webs around Australia in 2014
Yasir Shah spun webs around Australia in 2014

Sahu and Jiyas have been with the team a couple of days, bowling full net sessions under the scorching Dubai sun, and Siddle said the Australian batsmen had learnt a lot. "They're experienced and they're very good bowlers in their own right,” he explained. “They're putting in a good contest in the nets, they're bowling a lot of overs.

"They've been able to jump in and give us little tips on their ideas and the different types of deliveries that they have, what to watch and what to look out for. It's definitely helping the batters in this group, they've learnt a lot in the couple of days they've got to work with them.”

The first Test starts on 7 October at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

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