Misbah rallies his troops

Saeed Ajmal Misbah ul-HaqPakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq has urged his men to move on from the loss of Saeed Ajmal as they prepare for the first one-day international against Australia (Australia 2/9, Pakistan 3/1 Series Winner).

The two sides are now in Sharjah ahead of Tuesday’s series opener (Pakistan 15/8, Australia 2/5 Match Betting) as Pakistan continue to play their matches in the United Arab Emirates due to the instability in their country.

They kicked off proceedings against the Aussies with a crushing six-wicket loss to the Baggy Greens in Sunday’s one-off Twenty20 contest in Dubai and will now play the multiple World Cup winners in three 50-over contests.

Facing Australia with a full side would have been a tough task for the Asians anyway, but they must take the field without Ajmal, who is currently suspended due to an ICC ruling on his bowling action.

The veteran off-spinner has already shown his prowess in the UAE by decimating the England batting line-up a few years ago and looked set to be the main threat for the ‘hosts’ against the men from Down Under.

But he will play no part and Misbah wants his side to forget about who is not in the line-up and concentrate on getting the job done.

“It’s really difficult to fill Ajmal’s gap because he has been the number one or two bowler in the one-day rankings,” he said. “But if Ajmal is not there we must try to fill his gap and move forward.”

George Bailey will lead Australia in the absence of the injured Michael Clarke and the hard-hitting all-rounder is refusing to take Pakistan lightly despite their loss of Ajmal.

“There’s no doubt he’s been very important to Pakistan,” he said. “But Pakistan will be trying to prove they don’t rely too much on him and it will pose different challenges.”

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