Pat Cummins with PCB officials. (Photo Source: Twitter/@TheRealPCB)
In a surprising move, the Pakistan cricket team spread some holiday cheer by presenting Christmas gifts to the Australian side ahead of the second Test in Melbourne. The festive gesture, captured in a video by PCB, also included candies being distributed to children during the indoor training session.
Former Australia spinner, Kerry O’Keeffe, however, expressed his astonishment at the goodwill exchange, questioning if similar camaraderie would have existed in the bygone era.
“This Test series is being played in the best of spirits? You’re not going to beat Australia in the best of spirits. Christmas Presents yesterday. Would Sourav Ganguly have arrived with Christmas presents to Steve Waugh? No,” O’Keeffe said in a video uploaded by Fox Sports.
The 74-year-old, who played for Australia between 1971-77, believes that to take on the Aussies, a team needs a bit of fire. “You’ve got to play fiesty against the Aussies. You got to have some spite. This is too pleasant. And then opening the Boxing Day with a half-volley,” he added.
The ongoing series, according to O’Keeffe, is being played in “far too good spirits.” He emphasised the need for a more competitive approach, urging Pakistan to bring some aggression to the field.
The second Test, held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, had a rain interruption on Day one. Australia, to seal the three-Test series following their convincing win in Perth, are also in a strong position in this Test. Today, on Day two, Pakistan initially dominated, but Australia made a powerful comeback in the final session, claiming five crucial wickets.
Despite a solid start, Pakistan face a 125-run deficit, making the game favourable for the Aussies. Notable performances include Abdullah Shafique and Shan Masood’s partnership, which was disrupted by Pat Cummins’ double-wicket burst.
As the series progresses, O’Keeffe’s call for more edge in the game raises questions about whether the season of goodwill can coexist with the competitive spirit on the cricket field.