PAK vs AUS: Faheem Ashraf Ruled Out Of Second Test After Testing Positive For COVID-19
PAK vs AUS: Faheem Ashraf Ruled Out Of Second Test After Testing Positive For COVID-19

Pakistani all-rounder Faheem Ashraf has been ruled out of the upcoming second Test match against Australia, to be played in Karachi from Saturday, after he tested positive for COVID-19. Faheem returned a positive result when he was tested upon arrival at the team hotel in Karachi.

Ashraf will now have to undergo isolation for five days and his replacement – if Pakistan deems one to be necessary – will be announced in due course. This is the second Test in a row that Faheem Ashraf will miss of this series.

Before this, Ashraf had missed the historic opening Test match between Pakistan and Australia in Rawalpindi due to a hamstring strain he picked up during the playoffs of the Pakistan Super League (PSL 2022). He along with Hassan Ali were part of Islamabad United’s injury-hit PSL campaign that ended with their narrow loss to finalists Lahore Qalandars.

Ashraf missed the game with a hamstring strain while Hasan played, but limped off towards the end of Lahore’s innings with what has now been confirmed as an abductor strain. Ashraf has been the seam-bowling allrounder Pakistan hasn’t had for years and though he’s taken only 10 wickets in the eight Tests he played in 2021, he was essential in providing shape and discipline to the attack, as well as relief for the other bowlers.

With the bat, Ashraf averaged almost 40 in 2021. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said if required, a replacement will be named for Faheem soon.

PAK vs AUS: Faheem Ashraf Ruled Out Of Second Test After Testing Positive For COVID-19

The Australian team also reached Karachi amidst heavy security and was driven straight from the airport to the hotel. Both teams will have their full practice sessions at the National Stadium on Thursday morning.

Shahid Afridi Expects Better Pitches For The Second And Third Tests In Karachi And Lahore Respectively

The first Test between the two sides ended in a dull draw after the batters ruled the roost for the five entire days. Imam Ul Haq hit centuries in both innings, while Abdullah Shafique and Azhar Ali scored tons as well. For Australia, Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja made scores in 90s, while David Warner and Steve Smith also contributed with half-centuries.

Pakistani bowler Nauman Ali picked a 6-fer in Australia innings, while Australian bowlers managed just 4 wickets in both innings combined.

Shahid Afridi
Shahid Afridi. Image Credits: Twitter

Seeing this, former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi was fuming and criticized that pitch that was made for the first Test in Rawalpindi.

Speaking to Samaa TV, Afridi said: “They didn’t think about Australia, the bottom-line was ‘we shouldn’t lose’. But in the next two Tests in Lahore and Karachi, they have to make good pitches. Results have to come on those pitches. You have to take advantage of your home series, or else when you go to Australia, you’re going to struggle.”

The next Test begins in Karachi on March 12.

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