Dates locked in for Aussie Tests in UAE
AUSTRALIA'S first red-ball assignment since the doomed tour of South Africa is locked in with dates and venues confirmed for the two-Test series against Pakistan in the UAE.
Justin Langer's men will play Tests in Dubai, starting October 7, and Abu Dhabi before taking on the world's No.1-ranked Twenty20 side in three T20 fixtures.
Australia were smashed by Pakistan in a 2-0 whitewash the last time they played Tests in the UAE in 2014.
Langer's first Test campaign as coach since taking over from Darren Lehmann looms as a huge challenge.
Australia's last series victory in Asia came in 2011 when they beat Sri Lanka 1-0.
The visitors will be without almost half of their first-choice XI this time around with frontline quicks Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood joining banned trio Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft on the sidelines.
Hazlewood and Cummins, who are both recovering from back injuries, haven't played since the scandal-plagued tour of South Africa and will instead look to tune up for the home summer in the domestic one-day competition.
Langer and chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns aren't expected to settle on a squad for the UAE until midway through next month when the Australia A tour of India wraps up.
Uncapped pacemen Brendan Doggett, Michael Neser, Joel Paris and Chris Tremain have been picked for the red-ball section of the Australia A tour, while Jackson Bird, Chadd Sayers and Peter Siddle are others who could come into consideration.
Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb and Matt Renshaw are among the batsmen looking to prove themselves during the India tour given Australia's fragility on spinning decks.
AUSTRALIA'S TOUR OF THE UAE V PAKISTAN
Four-day tour match v Pakistan A, ICC Academy Dubai, September 29-October 2
First Test, Dubai International Stadium, October 7-11
Second Test, Sheikh Zayed Stadium Abu Dhabi, October 16-20
First T20, Abu Dhabi, October 24
Second T20, Dubai: October 26
Third T20, Dubai: October 28.