The Roar
The Roar



COMMENT: Whitewash or not, was Pakistan’s entertaining fight worthy of more than three Tests?

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8th January, 2024

We were hoping for a great contest, and we got one!

Dave Warner might have gone out a winner, but there were many moments in that final Test at the SCG where Pakistan showed that they have a lot of good cricketers on the horizon – and even better than that, plenty of talent right here, right now. 

They should be commended on the spirit of this series played. Usually, most cricketers can appreciate a good sledge or two, it comes with the turf.

The provincial turn of phrase designed to put off the opposition, or the straight-up old-fashioned insult that cuts right to the chase.

Aamir Jamal was brilliant with the bat and ball, but it wasn’t just that – he was an aggressive bastard. He wanted to get in there, get in the Aussies’ faces, and take his chance to pull off an upset victory. 

Aamer Jamal

Aamir Jamal (Photo by Jason McCawley – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

Did he get it? No, but he sure left an impression. The last time I can personally recall a debuting overseas player leaving one that strong was JP Duminy when he played his first Test for the Proteas back in the 2008/09 series, scoring his maiden Test century and powering South Africa to a series win. 

It’s impossible to turn Aamir into a villain right on the level of a Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson or Virat Kohli. His lack of baggage works in his favour – but who knows what he can achieve next time he is back on Australian soil?


While there are many disappointments Pakistan will rightly take from this series – the many dropped catches, questionable fielding performances, the fact that their superstar batters Babar Azam and Saud Shakeel failed to fire – there were many players that showed glimpses of greatness.

So…should this be a longer series?

While Shan Masood may have been in over his head as captain at the start of the tour, his decision-making and more aggressive tactics in the Boxing Day and the New Year’s Test matches asked questions of the Australians.

While execution left a lot to be desired, when his players did deliver (enter Aamir, stage left), the visitors put themselves within striking distance of ending their near thirty-year Test victory drought on Australian soil.

As encouraging as the visitors were, Pat Cummins showed why Australia are ranked first in the world. A good side knows that when you are asked questions, you still have to find ways to win.

It’s such a shame then, as it feels like the contest was just starting to get interesting, it’s over. Just like that.


Leave us hanging much? What if this series continued on? There was plenty of spirit shown in the Pakistan side to suggest a win could have been on the cards in a four or five Test series.

Still, it is what it is. Now we await the arrival of the West Indies, hot off their T20 series win over England. Can their Test side continue the promise shown by Pakistan? 

Judging by last summer (seriously, that’s when they were last here), they have a long way to go to contend with the side that last defeated Australia at home in February 1997 – in a five Test series. 

It does beg the question, though: should longer Test series be brought back?

Dave Warner goes out a winner – now what?

So, he’s gone. David Warner ends his career with his baggy green, a lot of love, and a lot of references to sandpaper.

Considering the discourse seemed neverending about him, to now have the conundrum of who replaces him in front of us is, honestly, relieving.  

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 06: David Warner of Australia runs between wickets after achieving his half century during day four of the Men's Third Test Match in the series between Australia and Pakistan at Sydney Cricket Ground on January 06, 2024 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

David Warner sets off to reach his half century. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

We don’t have to discuss it anymore! Finally, it’s going to happen.

Regardless, what Cricket Australia and the selection committee do next is telling, not just because of who they pick, but what it signifies. 

While comparing them against the golden eras of Steve Waugh or Ricky Ponting is next to impossible, there’s no denying that the Cummins tenure has been a huge success so far, with a stacked trophy cabinet, wins aplenty across all formats, and many players making a name for themselves.

That being said, generational change is coming. The average age of the squad that took on Pakistan in Sydney was 33 years and four months, the oldest Australian Test XI to take the field since the 1928-29 Ashes series.

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Marcus Harris (31) looms as an obvious choice to replace Warner if they want to maintain the dynamic of an aggressive opener that can tick the run rate over, supported by a more traditional anchor in Usman Khawaja at the other end. However, he wouldn’t be around for long. 


The slightly more junior Matt Renshaw (27) or Cameron Bancroft (31) looms as an option as well, but his selection would signify a shift away from the opening style that has yielded so much success for Australia. 

The risk is for CA to handle: they need to identify young guns coming through the ranks, and the sooner they can get them in alongside this pack of Australian players, the better. 

Otherwise, that trophy cabinet may find itself emptying as quickly as it was filled.