Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan's head coach and chief selector, was the captain of the national side that last toured Australia, in 2016-17, when they were swept aside 3-0. A number of players in the current squad, including Azhar Ali, Babar Azam and Shan Masood, were a part of that tour. With the experience and learnings from that series, Misbah feels this "ambitious team" can go on to get "good results" this time around.
"For Asian teams in Australia, it's always difficult. But overall, the best thing for us is that our batting line-up is experienced," Misbah said in Perth. "Our boys who have toured previously scored runs here. Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq and Shan Masood had a good time on the bouncy tracks in South Africa [in 2018-19], so looking forward, we have a good mature team. We have got good, young fast bowlers and Yasir Shah was there with us last time. When [you] have such an ambitious team, you expect good results. The fast bowlers are energetic, and all the players are expected to play well in the conditions."
In 2016, Pakistan were unable to pick up all 20 Australian wickets in any of the three Tests, but Misbah believes the current fast-bowling unit is capable of doing better. "Our young fast bowlers and spinner Yasir Shah are our biggest positives," he said. "He [Yasir] is aware of Australian conditions and he also had better preparation playing domestic cricket at home. He bowled lengthy spells there and he exactly knows what was missing during his previous tour here. So, I am hoping that our preparation are better than before.
"It's important for us to take 20 wickets, because you can't win without it. I feel our batting line-up is capable enough to put up 400-450 runs on the board, so it will also help our bowlers."
Pakistan have made a number of changes in their bowling department, with the experienced Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz having quit the longer format to focus on white-ball cricket. Apart from Shah, their ace legspinner, the squad is centered on young fast bowlers. Sixteen-year old Naseem Shah and 18-year-old Muhammad Musa have earned their maiden call-ups, while Imran Khan, who last played during Pakistan's last tour of Australia, has been recalled and has done brilliantly in the ongoing tour game.
But with Pakistan having lost 2-0 in the T20I series, will the inexperience dent their confidence? "Overall, when you try out different options and search for solutions you have go through all of that," Misbah said.
"Obviously, when you are settled, you get the results but if you want to improve a few things, you should also think about the future for back-ups. If you need to try new players, you need to look past that [the loss]. Obviously, we were looking to win those games but we were looking far ahead by giving few players the experience they need. There are a lot of positives for us, and this is definitely going to help Pakistan in future."