Australian cricket team coach Darren Lehmann has described Pakistan as tough opponent despite the absence of off-spinner Saeed Ajmal, who is under the ICC scanner for a suspect bowling action.
Lehmann's comments came as both sides get ready to face each other in a single Twenty20 on Sunday followed by three One-dayers and two Tests in the United Arab Emirates, reports the Dawn.
For Pakistan, it will be the first series in five years without Ajmal in the squad.
The talismanic off-spinner was suspended for chucking last month as part of a crackdown by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
In addition to being ranked the world's best bowler in One-day cricket, Ajmal is also the highest wicket-taker in T20s, with 85 scalps.
Lehmann, however, said Pakistan still has some very good players with exciting talent, and can never be underestimated.
Pakistan's T20 squad includes uncapped leg spinner Saad Nasim, while slow left-armer Raza Hasan returns after an almost two-year absence.
The UAE has been Pakistan's de facto home since 2009 when a terror attack targeting the Sri Lankan team bus in Pakistan resulted in the loss of international cricket.
It has proven a relatively happy hunting ground, with Pakistan famously registering a 3-0 Test victory over England in 2012. (ANI)
Cricket fever catching up in Colombia
Cricket in Colombia is reportedly growing at a slow but steady pace although it still remains basically a niche sport.
The Colombian national team has not seen any action since facing Costa Rica in 2010 but, on Saturday, following the formation of the Colombian Cricket Board in June, the side has come out of hibernation to host the inaugural Amazon Cup, The Guardian reported.
The Amazon Cup would be a triangular Twenty20 competition in Bogota, which would also involve Brazil and Peru.
The organisers hope that it would be a first step on the road to the Cafeteros competing in the 2015 South American Cricket Championships in Chile, the report added.