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PAK VS AUS: Pakistan Wicketkeeper Replaces Sarfaraz As Team Announced For Boxing Day Test

Pacer Khurram Shahzad was ruled out of the series because of an injury, while all-rounder Faheem Ashraf will also miss out

Edited By : News24 Desk | Updated: Dec 25, 2023 16:24 IST
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Pakistan Cricket team
Pakistan Cricket team

Pakistan on Monday announced their 12-man squad for the upcoming Boxing Day clash against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground with Mohammad Rizwan replacing experienced wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed.

Sarfaraz has been sidelined from the Test squad after the nightmare he went through in the Peth Test. He scored just 7 runs in both innings with Mitchell Starc causing him all sorts of trouble.

Rizwan’s inclusion in the second Test squad is one of the three changes that Pakistan have made for the highly anticipated clash.

Pacer Khurram Shahzad was ruled out of the series because of an injury, while all-rounder Faheem Ashraf will also miss out after the poor test with bat and ball in Perth.

However, out of these changes, the most prominent one remains Sarfraz being sidelined for the second Test.

His selection received a lot of criticism due to his struggles in Australian conditions. In 10 innings, Sarfaraz has scored 239 runs at an average of 29.87. Pakistan skipper Shan Masood stated that Sarfraz was backed because of his performance in domestic cricket and the commitment as well as intensity he brought to the game.

“I wouldn’t think that that one change would have changed the whole course of the game. The reason to play Sarfaraz was pretty much the same [as the reason to play Aamer Jamal and Khurram Shahzad]. People go back to stats and Rizwan averages very well in SENA. Firstly there’s no competition between the two. They’re equally important to the team. Any competition they have is healthy competition. We know what Rizwan has done but we gave Sarfaraz the benefit because he averaged 56.50 on his last tour here in 2016. Yes, that’s been quite a while but he’s also played red-ball consistently in the Quaid-e-Azam trophy in the last few years,” Masood said as quoted from ESPNcricinfo.

“Rizwan just came from the World Cup, a lot of white-ball cricket. And he also had a gap in red-ball cricket since Sarfaraz took over from him for the New Zealand series. Sarfaraz had an outstanding performance there and Rizwan hadn’t played a lot of red-ball cricket. So there was a method to it. He’s been there, he played red-ball cricket. Karachi had a very good season where he was the tournament’s MVP, and that allowed us to get a player like Rizwan into shape. If I had it my way, I’d ideally like both to play but that’s not possible. Now we think Rizwan is ready and we can give Saifi that little bit of break to recuperate and come back,” Masood added

Pakistan squad for the second Test: Imam-Ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Shan Masood (c), Babar Azam, Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Salman Ali Agha, Shaheen Afridi, Hasan Ali, Mir Hamza, Aamir Jamal, Sajid Khan.

First published on: Dec 25, 2023 02:10 PM IST

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