Past five matches (all formats): 0, 20, 13, 31, 4, 53, 96, 15, 29*
Like his Australian counterpart Steve Smith, Misbah is coming off a duck, off 29 balls, against the Cricket Australia XI in the tour match in Cairns. He missed Pakistan’s previous Test against New Zealand in Hamilton, due to death of his father-in-law (though he’d also copped one-Test ban from the ICC for a slow over-rate). Although he scored just 31 and 13 in the first Test in Christchurch, he was top scorer in the first innings that saw Pakistan skittled for a paltry 133. He fell four short of a century in October against the West Indies in Abu Dhabi, but it’s fair to say the Pakistan captain in the twilight of his career is struggling for runs. He needs just 125 more runs to become the seventh Pakistan batsman to 5000 Test runs.
Past five matches: 12, 10, 91, 5, 7, 19, 17, 74, 50, 6
Aslam reached 50 on three occasions in the Pakistan’s series against the Windies in October but failed to convert one into a hundred, uncharacteristic of him considering his first-class record (7 hundreds, 10 fifties). He failed to impress in Cairns with scores just 10 & 12 but he scored a career-high 91 in his last Test innings in Hamilton, where Pakistan collapsed from 2-181 to 230 all out after his dismissal. The young opener’s form may have not be extraordinary but he’s provided a cushion to the middle-order by seeing off the new ball.
Past five matches: 82*, 23, 58, 1, 31, 15, 91, 0, 79, 0
Azhar scored an unbeaten 82 in Cairns, the highest score by anyone in the match, but has been inconsistent in the Test arena of late. In his last four Tests, he has thrice failed to record double-digits, with two ducks and a one. The stand-in captain against New Zealand in Hamilton, Azhar’s 58 off 161 balls in the chase of 369 on the last day received more criticism than appreciation. However, he can draw comfort from the fact that the last time he played in a pink-ball Test he scored an unbeaten 302 against West Indies in Dubai.
Past five matches: 22, 16, 16, 90*, 29, 7, 21, 69, 117
The 22-year-old was the only positive for Pakistan in their 0-2 drubbing in New Zealand. Babar’s unbeaten 90 in the first innings in Hamilton where the second highest score was 41 killed any doubt he wasn't ready for Test cricket. He made his Test debut this year against the Windies and scored 69 in the day-night Test in Dubai. Babar, who coach Mickey Arthur has compared with Virat Kohli, struck three consecutive one-day internationals centuries against the Windies earlier this year.
Past five matches: 7, 54, 11, 2, 1, 2, 0, 51, 29, 127
Pakistan’s most prolific run-scorer hit some form with a half-century in the first innings against the CA XI in Cairns but his Test form is at its lowest ebb. He mustered just 16 runs in the two Tests in New Zealand, his lowest series tally in a 16-year Test career. The veteran right-hander also scored four consecutive scores in single digits – 2, 1, 2, 0 – in Tests for the first time in 14 years. He will arguably be the most desperate batsman to find runs, especially considering he is just 321 runs away from the magical 10,000-run milestone.
Past five matches: 29, 18, 0, 23, 17, 16, 0, 0, 58*, 68
Shafiq has bounced around the Pakistan batting order of late; he was demoted to number six from number three, the position he was elevated to during the England tour. He scored a pair of 50s against the West Indies in Abu Dhabi but followed it up with a pair of ducks in Sharjah. He hasn’t been able to find form since moving back down the order, with just 56 runs at 14.00 in the series against New Zealand. He is first Pakistan batsman, tail-enders excepted, to score 5 Test ducks in a calendar year and with four more possible innings left in 2016, it could get even worse for Shafiq.
Past five matches: 20, 39, 41, 19, 2, 7, 51, 42, 56 (1c, 4c, 3c, 4c, 0c, 2c, 1c, 2c, 1c, 1c)
The aggressive wicketkeeper-batsman has two fifties in the last five outings but both have come against West Indies in the UAE. He scored 41 in Hamilton but couldn’t convert it into a big innings and got out playing aggressive shots one too many as has often been the case. He has struggled for Test runs outside Asia throughout his career – 351 in 19 innings at an average of 19.50. His form behind the wickets however has been good as he took 7 catches in the Hamilton Test.
Past five matches: 0-69, 4-99, 0-21, 3-78, 0-44, 2-35, 0-22, 1-56, 1-34
Apart from his four wickets against New Zealand in his last match in Hamilton, Sohail hasn’t done much with the ball since taking back-to-back five-wicket hauls in England. His biggest issue has been bowling in the second innings, as 15 out of his last 16 wickets have come in the first innings and just one in the second, which could be due to his fitness. The 32-year-old’s batting cameos however provide him with an edge over the other pacemen in the squad. He scored a crucial 37 against New Zealand in Hamilton though that effort eventually proved to be in vain.
Past five matches: 1-34, 3-28, 1-53, 1-57, 2-46, 5-88, 1-47, 2-65, 2-28
Wahab begun his tour in style with four wickets in the tour match in Cairns and is eager to bowl on Australian pitches. He didn’t play in the first Test against New Zealand in Christchurch and had ordinary returns in the second match in Hamilton. Before that he had taken a five-wicket haul, the second of his career and first in six years, in the last Test against West Indies in Sharjah but apart from that, his recent efforts haven’t been much to write home about. But the fiery left-armer is known for bursts of brilliance and could prove a handful for the Australians this summer.
Past five matches: 2-18, 3-15, 1-86, 2-59, 1-12, 3-43, 0-43, 3-71, 3-63, 0-54
Amir grabbed headlines in Cairns by taking three top order wickets in quick succession and restricted the CA XI to 114 all out. He took two more in the second innings and goes into the series in a fine form. He also took 3-71 against the West Indies in Sharjah and backed it up with 3-43 against New Zealand in Christchurch – his best figures since his return to the Test team. He hasn’t been able to snag a five-for since his comeback, though roughly a dozen dropped chances off his bowling haven’t helped his cause.
Past five matches: 0-45, 0-16, 3-40, 1-80, 6-124, 4-86, 2-113, 5-121, 0-48
Only once in his 20-Test career has the leg-spinner gone without a wicket and that happened in his latest outing – against New Zealand in Christchurch. He was left out of the second Test in Hamilton as the team selected four quicks and missed the warm-up match in Cairns due to a back injury. However, he was player-of-the-series against the West Indies in the UAE where he took 21 wickets including a ten-wicket match haul in Abu Dhabi. The series also witnessed him becoming the fastest bowler to 100 Test wickets milestone in 85 years.
Past five matches: 2-19, 3-26, 0-24, 4-62, 1-69, 3-45, 2-49, 1-26.
He is coming off five wickets in the warm-up match in Cairns where he was preferred over Sohail Khan, an indication that he is likely to be part of Pakistan’s XI in Brisbane too. He took four wickets in the first Test against New Zealand in Christchurch but bizarrely didn’t make the cut for Pakistan’s four-prong seam attack in Hamilton. He also delivered a decent spell – 3-45 – on a flat wicket in Abu Dhabi to restrict the West Indies to 224 all out. The left-armer’s last five matches include two domestic T20s for Lahore Blues in Rawalpindi.
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