Pakistan coach Dav Whatmore believes his side will have the edge over Australia in the One-Day International and Twenty20 series in the United Arab Emirates as they are more familiar with conditions and the visitors are dealing with injuries and retirements.
The teams meet in three ODIs and three Twenty20s in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai starting on Tuesday, with Australia recently losing their place at the top of the one-day rankings following a 4-0 series loss in England.
Pakistan are hosting Australia in the UAE due to ongoing concerns about security at home.
“They have had a retirement or two and an injury so I suppose the short answer would be yes,” Whatmore told Reuters on Saturday when asked if it was a good time to be playing Australia.
“It could be they will try even harder after they lost pretty badly to England … but conditions are more known to the Pakistan team so from that point of view we hold a bit of an edge.”
Michael Clarke’s side are fourth in the ODI rankings, with Pakistan two places behind them following a run of patchy form.
Pakistan tasted victory in the Asia Cup but that was followed by defeats in test and ODI series in Sri Lanka and a shared two-match Twenty20 series between the two sides.
Whatmore, a former Australia test batsman who has coached Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, said Pakistan’s current crop of players had the potential for success.
“I honestly thought we were one ODI victory away from (it) being a very good tour in Sri Lanka,” he said.
“From positions of strength we managed to snatch defeat and hand the game over. The Asia Cup was good so really it hasn’t been as bad as some people may think.
“The talent is definitely there, we just need to be a little bit stronger and win the mental battle a bit more and the team will be very competitive and consistent. We’re working on those sorts of things.”
The series in the UAE is followed by the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka. Given Pakistan were runners-up in 2007, champions in 2009 and semi-finalists two years ago, Whatmore agreed there was an expectation they would once again be contenders.
“Those figures sound impressive so the pressure is on for us this time, particularly me,” he said. “It’s a challenge but I’ve always looked forward to these sorts of challenges.
“It is a volatile form of the game and all teams are paying due importance to the World Twenty20 so it will make for a good tournament but we would like to think we will be as good as we can be and if that is the case then I think we will be figuring somewhere.”