ANI Photo | “Approach has to be fearless,” says Pakistan batter Saim Ayub awaiting Test debut against Australia

Young Pakistan batter Saim Ayub has promised to stay fearless if he earns his first Test cap during Pakistan’s tour to Australia next month.
Pakistan will travel to Australia for a three-match series as part of the ongoing ICC World Test Championship, starting from December 14 onwards and Ayub is in the running for selection after he was named in an 18-player squad earlier this month, as per ICC.
While Ayub is yet to earn a Test debut, the 21-year-old has already featured for Pakistan in eight T20I contests this year and has further impressed at the domestic level with a large sum of runs for Karachi Whites in the recently concluded Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.
While his initial international run has been underwhelming, scoring 123 runs in just seven matches at an average of 17.57 and a strike rate of 123, Ayub has a great first-class record. In 14 FC matches, he has scored 1,069 runs at an average of 46.47, with a strike rate of 70. He has three centuries and three fifties in 26 innings, with the best score of 203.
The next step for Ayub will be to translate that strong form in Pakistan to the international arena and the confident left-hander is adamant he would not make changes to his aggressive approach should he earn selection in Australia.
“The approach should stay fearless but sometimes you have to play according to the conditions, you have to give respect to the bowlers when they are dominating,” Ayub said.
“The momentum keeps shifting during the match, sometimes it is with the bowlers and other times it is with the batters and you have to adjust accordingly. Having a fearless approach does not mean that you always have to hit the ball hard. Some sessions have to be played with a run-rate of three, some with that of five.”
“As far as expectations are concerned, I am looking forward to the opportunity of playing for Pakistan and winning matches for the team,” he added.
Pakistan seemingly have a wealth of options within their top order, with Ayub battling it out with regular openers Abdullah Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq to tackle the new ball and new skipper Shan Masood and former captain Babar Azam likely to round out a strong top four.
Ayub will get chances to impress though, with Pakistan scheduled to take on an Australian Prime Minister’s XI in a four-day contest from December 6 ahead of the first Test in Perth commencing on December 14.
And while Pakistan has not won a Test match in Australia for almost 28 years, Ayub is looking forward to the challenge as his side attempts to remain unbeaten in the current World Test Championship cycle.
“I think it will be fun playing cricket there (in Australia),” Ayub said.
“You have to push yourself out of your comfort zone and when there are challenges, there is growth as well and that excites me as a player.”
“Players decide for themselves if they want to look at conditions as easy or difficult. What is more important is the clarity of thought and being fearless with your approach,” he concluded.
Pakistan Test squad: Shan Masood (c), Aamer Jamal, Abdullah Shafique, Abrar Ahmed, Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Khurram Shahzad, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Noman Ali, Saim Ayub, Agha Salman, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Afridi. (ANI)

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