Pakistan announce 17-man squad for the first Test against South Africa
The first Test is set to commence on January 26.
Updated - Jan 24, 2021 3:52 pm
Pakistan are set to resume their World Test Championship campaign with a two-match Test series against South Africa at home. The first Test is set to commence on January 26 at the National Stadium in Karachi. The hosts, meanwhile, have announced the 17-man squad for the series opener. Initially, the selectors had picked 20 players in the squad.
Imran Butt looks set for a Test debut as only two openers have been named in the squad. He will open the innings with Abid Ali who also didn’t have a great time on the New Zealand tour scoring 76 runs in four innings. Shan Masood was his partner then who endured a terrible time mustering only 10 runs with three ducks.
The middle-order looks solid for the hosts with the presence of Azhar Ali, Babar Azam and Fawad Alam in the line-up while Saud Shakeel is also part of the team.
Hasan Ali seems set to make a comeback
Hasan Ali has finally made it to the Pakistan side after a long injury layoff. He also proved his fitness with a brilliant performance in the domestic circuit. Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf and Tabish Khan make up the rest of the pace attack. Faheem Ashraf and Mohammad Nawaz are the two all-rounders in the squad with Yasir Shah, Sajid Khan and Nauman Ali boosting the spin attack.
Mohammad Rizwan continues to be the first-choice wicket-keeper after the way he led and batted in New Zealand in talisman Babar’s absence. However, Sarfaraz Ahmed is also part of the squad. Three players missing from the initial squad, Kamran Ghulam, Agha Salman and Abdullah Shafique will stay with the team and train with them in Karachi.
This is a historic series as South Africa have travelled to Pakistan after a gap of 16 long years. The visitors, meanwhile, also have an outside chance (very slim), of making it to the final of the World Test Championship. Pakistan, however, are ruled out from the top-two race in WTC and won’t make it even if they win all their remaining fixtures.
Pakistan squad for the first Test: Babar Azam (Captain), Mohammad Rizwan, Abid Ali, Imran Butt, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Faheem Ashraf, Yasir Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Saud Shakeel, Sajid Khan, Tabish Khan, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Nawaz, Nauman Ali and Hassan Ali.