'Finally a great decision' - Netizens rejoice after Sarfaraz Ahmed replaces Mohammad Rizwan for Karachi Test

Sarfaraz Ahmed makes his 50th Test appearance for Pakistan.

Sarfaraz Ahmed
Sarfaraz Ahmad. (Photo Source: Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Chaitanya Prakash
Chaitanya Prakash

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The Test series opener between hosts Pakistan and New Zealand in Karachi marked the return of former Pakistani skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed into the starting eleven. The veteran wicketkeeper-batter replaced the under-fire Mohammad Rizwan for the first Test. The Netizens were delighted by the return of the veteran cricketer and praised the team for dropping Rizwan, who has had a lean run in the longest format of the game.

The hosts, coming into the series opener on the back of a humiliating defeat against England, decided to bat first after winning the toss at the National Stadium in Karachi. Pakistani skipper Babar Azam, announced the team, marking the return of Sarfaraz Ahmed to the side. The 35-year-old last played a red-ball game in 2019 and hasn't featured for Pakistan since November 2021. 

Mohammad Rizwan, who came under scrutiny for his lackluster showing in the recently concluded whitewash against Ben Stokes' England at home, finds himself on the sidelines after a change in the selection committee following Ramiz Raja's departure. The fans welcomed the decision to bench the underperforming cricketer as they felt it was time Sarfaraz returned to the national side. 

The match also sees the return of Mir Hamza to the Test side, his first match since 2018. Pakistan have opted to go with three spinning options, welcoming Nauman Ali into the starting eleven since the surface in Karachi is expected to turn big from the first day. The home side will need a strong showing against the visiting Kiwis, who have not played a red-ball match since their away series defeat against England in June.

The visitors, under the new leadership of veteran pacer Tim Southee, have also gone with three spinning options by including Ish Sodhi, Ajaz Patel, and Michael Bracewell into the team for a spin-friendly track in Karachi. 

Here is how Twitter reacted to the inclusion of Sarfaraz Ahmad for the first Test against New Zealand: