Pakistan’s insane plan to counter bouncer barrage
It looks as if it would be better suited as part of a billiard table than a cricket pitch but it might just trigger a Pakistani uprising at the Gabba.
Pakistan have brought a two-metre marble slab to Brisbane to help condition them to the short pitched bowling assault that every Asian team that lands in Brisbane knows is on the way.
They order net bowlers to move in from the customary pitch length of 22 yards to about 16 yards and pelt balls into the marble surface and up into the batsmen ribs, arms and helmet.
Live stream the Australia v Pakistan T20 & Test Series with KAYO SPORTS on your TV or favourite device. Get your 14-day free trial >
The ball makes a distinctive pinging sound and seems to almost gain pace and bounce.
The more hostile the better they say and several batsmen have been hit in the helmet this week without a semblance of a complaint because they know they must condition themselves for rugged challenges against Australia's world class new ball attack.
To make matters even more challenging the slab is slightly raised on one side and angled towards the off-side so there is a chance the ball will seam in that direction.
Sounds quirky but fortune can favour the brave.
Last time the Pakistanis visited Brisbane three years ago they tried the same preparation and scored 450 in the second innings and fell 39 runs shy of snatching what would have been one of the most remarkable victories in the history of the game.
Three batsmen from that team - Azhar Ali, Babar Azam and Asad Shafiq - return to the Gabba this week.
Batsman Shan Masood does not feel the Gabba will hold any great errors for his team.
"I don't feel it is unfamiliar,'' Masood said.
"We were here in 2016 and we posted 450 so we have some experience as far as the Gabba is concerned and we spent about 10 days in Perth so we have done as much as we can to prepare.''
Pakistan has lost nine and drawn three series since they first visited Australia 55 years ago.
The obvious issue is that if the likes of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, Imran Khan and Javed Miandad could not wrestle a series win off Australia in Australia you wonder how the current far less credentialed current team could do so.
The impact of Steve Smith's run splurge has pierced all parts of the cricket world and Masood has admitted that even though he is a not a great cricket watcher he tried to watch and learn from every ball of Smith's domination of England.
"I think it is very refreshing seeing someone play the game on his terms and defy the textbook. That is what we were told to do when we started the game, to know your own game and play to your strengths and I think he has done that.''