Pakistan Cricket Team has announced a 17-member squad for the first Test of their historic two-match Test series against the visiting South African team, starting January 26.
This is a historic occasion for Pakistan Cricket as they will host South Africa for the first time since 2007.
Following a shambolic 0-2 route at the hands of New Zealand last month, the Men in Green have rung in a whole host of changes to their Test set-up.
Opener Shan Masood, who endured a nightmarish New Zealand tour where he managed just 10 runs besides registering three ducks, has been axed. Abid Ali has, however, retained his place and he looks set to open the innings with uncapped opener Imran Bhatt.
Regular skipper Babar Azam, who missed out on the New Zealand Test series due to injury, will bolster the middle-order which consists of the veteran duo of Azhar Ali and Fawad Alam.
Sarfaraz Ahmed has been named as the backup for regular keeper Mohammad Rizwan, who was without a doubt, Pakistan’s best batsman in New Zealand, registering three half-centuries in four innings.
All-rounder Hassan Ali has made a return to the national set-up after he proved his fitness and form in the recently concluded Qaid-e-Azam Trophy. Ali will bolster the all-rounder’s department which already consists of Faheem Ashraf. The pace-bowling unit consists of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, and Tabish Khan.
Yasir Shah will lead the spin bowling department alongside Nauman Ali and Saud Shakeel.
The two-match Test series will kickstart at the National Stadium in Karachi from January 26. The second and final Test will take place in Rawalpindi from February 04. Both Tests will be a part of the ICC Test Championship. However, both sides are all but out from the contention of making it to the top-2.
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Pakistan’s squad for the 1st Test against South Africa:
Babar Azam (C), Mohammad Rizwan (WK), Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Faheem Ashraf, Yasir Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Imran Butt, Saud Shakeel, Sajid Khan, Tabish Khan, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Nawaz, Nauman Ali, Hassan Ali.