PAK vs AUS Test: Iftikhar Ahmed, the captain of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Mohammad Wasim Jnr, the fast bowler, have been included in Pakistan’s Test team for the first match of the three-match series against Australia.
Faheem Ashraf and Hasan Ali are set to miss the Rawalpindi Test (first of the series). Hasan Ali and Faheem Ashraf have both been injured, which has dealt Pakistan a major setback ahead of the historic first Test against Australia. Iftikhar and Wasim (who were picked for their versatility) will arrive in Islamabad tonight and begin their three-day isolation at the team hotel before rejoining the rest of the group after passing covid testing.
Over the last year, the duo has played a crucial role in Pakistan’s Test team. With 41 wickets at an average of barely 16, Hasan was the third-highest wicket-taker in Tests last year, after teammate Shaheen Shah Afridi and R Ashwin.
On the other hand, Ashraf has been the seam-bowling allrounder Pakistan has missed for years, and while only taking 10 wickets in the eight Tests he played in 2021, he was crucial in giving the attack direction and discipline, as well as respite for the other bowlers – something previous Pakistan attacks have lacked. He managed to maintain a batting average of around 40 throughout 2021.
Faheem and Hasan will rejoin the group in the following week and will integrate with the rest of the squad during the first Test after completing their three-day required isolation. Both players are expected to recover and return to action from the second Test that will be played in Karachi from 12-16 March.
15-player squad: Babar Azam (captain) (Central Punjab), Mohammad Rizwan (vice-captain) (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Abdullah Shafique (Central Punjab), Azhar Ali (Central Punjab), Fawad Alam (Sindh), Haris Rauf (Northern), Iftikhar Ahmed (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Imam-ul-Haq (Balochistan), Mohammad Wasim Jnr (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Nauman Ali (Northern), Sajid Khan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Saud Shakeel (Sindh), Shaheen Shah Afridi (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Shan Masood (Balochistan) and Zahid Mahmood (Sindh)
PAK vs AUS Test schedule:
4-8 Mar – 1st Test, Rawalpindi
12-16 Mar – 2nd Test, Karachi
21-25 Mar – 3rd Test, Lahore