Asad Shafiq admits to `big crowd` pressure in Boxing Day Test
Karachi [Pakistan], Dec. 25 (ANI): Asad Shafiq, Pakistan's hero from the Gabba, has admitted that there would be a little bit of pressure on the visiting side when they face Australia in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), as they have not played in front of a huge crowd.
Fourteen of the 17 members of Pakistan's squad for the Test series have never experienced a Boxing Day Test at the MCG, which is expected to be watched by a bumper crowd of 60,000 on Monday.
"We will feel it [the pressure] a little because we probably haven't played in front of such a big crowd," Shafiq was quoted as saying by the Dawn.
"This ground has a really prestigious history and playing here is a big honour for me and especially for those who are playing here for the first time. There is also a lot of excitement."
Although Pakistan lost the opening Test of the three-match series by 39 runs to go 0-1 down in the series, they received a flurry of admiration for their dogged fourth innings chase.
Chasing a world-record target of 490 runs to win, Pakistan's ninth-wicket partnership between `Man of the match` Shafiq (137) and Yasir Shah (33) raised hopes in the Misbah-ul-Haq-led camp which were soon shattered as the centurion fell prey to a brilliant bouncer by Mitchell Starc.
"We know the importance of the game. It's a big Test match, the Boxing Day one," Shafiq said.
"We all grew up watching this match in Pakistan. We know the value of this Test. We are hopeful and positive especially after the first Test. All the team is gelled together well. We are playing positive and good cricket," he added.
Pakistan have a great chance to end their 10-Test losing streak in Australia, especially if history is to go by anything as all of their four Test wins Down Under have either been in Melbourne or Sydney.
"I have heard and seen the matches here, Pakistan playing against Australia in Melbourne and Sydney," Shafiq said. "Everyone is talking that the conditions here in Melbourne will be more suitable for our team."
"But every day is a new day and every match is a new match. You have to work and play hard for every match to get the victory."
The Test victories of Pakistan two in Melbourne came way back in 1979 and 1981 and thus, there would a thing to prove for the Misbah-ul-haq-led side when they take on the hosts to keep the series.
One thing which is a welcome sign for Pakistan is the return of red ball which would reverse swing more as compared to the pink one which softens up earlier.
Pakistan, who have to must win the Melbourne Test, are aiming to become the first Asian side to win a series Down Under.(ANI)