Far North’s Test cricket credentials go under the microscope


Last updated:

Cairns is desperate to return Cazalys Stadium as an international Test cricket venue. IMAGE: Cricket Australia.

FAR North Queensland’s credentials as a future Test cricket location go under the microscope today with the start of three-day tour game in Cairns between Pakistan and an Australia XI.

The city is desperate to return Cazalys Stadium to the Test spotlight having not hosted an international long-form match since 2004. It’s the first pink-ball hit out for the visiting Pakistanis, to be played as a day/night fixture in preparation for the First Test against Australia in Brisbane next week.

Pakistan batsman Asad Shafiq says the intelligence coach Mickey Arthur was providing the squad, after also being in charge of Australia, was proving an asset.

"Test cricket is always difficult cricket,” Shafiq told Cricket Australia.

“The challenges over here are different and the challenges in the UAE are different, so we are looking forward to playing good, positive cricket.”

“You have to tackle the fast bowlers here, which is a totally different challenge (to the UAE)."(Arthur is) giving us all advice because he knows the conditions, he knows everything about here, so he's helping us out a lot."

Shafiq said his team was taking the Cairns match with the young Australians very seriously considering it was their only practice game using the pink ball. Shafig made 67 in Pakistan’s last pink-ball Test against the West Indies in Dubai in October.

"That was a very good experience, my first experience (with the pink ball)," he said.

"Once I played with it, things got a bit better and clearer – there was not a problem with the visibility of the ball or something like this. 

"The ball wasn't swinging in the UAE when we played a Test there, but we're now expecting some good swing bowling here.

"So we're preparing ourselves for that swing bowling."


Cricket Australia XI v Pakistan
At Cazalys Stadium, Cairns (Gates open at 12.30pm) - Thursday December 8-10

Misbah Ul-Haq, Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Imran Khan, Mohammad Amir, Younis Khan, Wahab Riaz, Sohail Khan, Sarfraz Ahmed, Sami Aslam, Rahat Ali.

Cricket Australia XI:
Will Bososto (WA), Jake Carder (WA), Alex Gregory (SA), Josh Inglis (WA), Ryan Lees (TAS), Arjun Nair (NSW), Jimmy Peirson (QLD), Matthew Short (VIC), Mark Steketee (QLD), Cameron Valente (SA), Cameron Wheatley (TAS)(, Jake Winter (SA).

First session: 1-3pm
Second session: 3.20-5.20pm
Third session: 6-8pm