Underdogs Pakistan will push for results, says captain

Captain Shan Masood insists Pakistan are not content playing for draws against Australia, despite the tourists heading to Perth as rank outsiders.

At his pre-match press conference, Masood was tight-lipped on the make-up of his side for the first of three Tests, which begins at Optus Stadium on Thursday.

But Pakistan authorities have since confirmed their XI as they attempt to end a winless streak across the past five Test tours to Australia, dating back to 1995.

Pace bowlers Aamir Jamal and Khurram Shahzad have been called in to make their Test debuts, teaming up with star quick Shaheen Afridi.

There was no room for veteran spinner Noman Ali, while Sarfaraz Ahmed was the preferred wicketkeeper, with Mohammad Rizwan dropped.

Some bookmakers have a Pakistan victory on an expected quick and bouncy pitch in Perth as far afield as $8.

But as he prepares to lead his country for the first time, the new captain is adamant the visitors will be trying to force a result.

"You have to be positive," said Masood, who became skipper after Babar Azam resigned to return to be a batter-only following the World Cup.

"It's picking your battles, it's being sensible, and it's about seeing the requirement of the games and seeing what are the ways we can save time in the game and create a situation where taking 20 wickets would be easy."

The go-hard-or-go-home attitude comes as Pakistan grapple with keeping Test cricket relevant back home.

Pakistan are perennial contenders in the white-ball formats, finishing as runners-up at the most recent T20 World Cup in Australia last year.

They also narrowly missed out on reaching the semi-finals at the recent ODI World Cup.

In the longer format, Pakistan are ranked sixth and last played a Test at home in January.

Australia will finish 2023 having played 13 Test matches - nearly three times as many as Pakistan, which will have had five.

"It's not enough, we'd obviously like more Test cricket," Masood said.

"We all love playing Test cricket, it's the ultimate, it's the pinnacle.

"I think by being a side that is a winning side, that produces results at home and overseas, we might get more Test cricket in the future.

"For us it's about the bigger picture. We want to come into these conditions and see what are the best ways to win a cricket match.

"We'll make mistakes, we might not get over the line, but it'll be a great learning for us."

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