The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has announced a 17-player squad for the first test match against South Africa slated to begin January 26 in the sea port city.
Abdullah Shafique, Kamran Ghulam and Salman Ali Agha – who were named in the 20-member initial squad – have been left out of the probables for the first Test which starts on Tuesday. However, the three players will continue to be part of the squad and will feature in warm-up and training sessions at the National Stadium.
The playing XI will be finalised by Pakistan Cricket Team (PCT) captain Babar Azam with consultations with the head coach. The 17-player squad is as follows:
Openers: Abid Ali and Imran Butt
Middle-order batsmen: Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Fawad Alam and Saud Shakeel
All-rounders: Faheem Ashraf and Mohammad Nawaz
Wicketkeepers: Mohammad Rizwan and Sarfaraz Ahmed
Spinners: Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan and Yasir Shah
Fast bowlers: Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Tabish Khan
Karachi Pakistan’s head coach Misbah ul Haq feels that Pakistan has a good opportunity to improve its record against South Africa in the upcoming two match Test series starting from Tuesday.
Speaking to journalists on Sunday, Misbah said that previously South Africa was a very strong side with top quality batsmen who were very good against spin bowlers and were backed by an equally strong bowling line up.
The Pakistan coach believes that it might not be the same case this time and that Pakistan will have an advantage as most of the players have been playing in conditions similar to the home ground.
“South Africa had a good amount of strength in the past. They had decent spinners and then batsmen who could play against a spin attack well but this is slightly a different South African side and we look forward to improve our record against them. We will try to exploit their weaknesses. This is the time for us to play good cricket against them,” Misbah said.
“The home team always has the edge due to home conditions; we also have an edge because our players have been playing domestic cricket here in Karachi. So, they know how things are going to be. So, we have a good opportunity against South Africa to do well and win the series,” the 46-year-old added.
The former captain said that Pakistan has practiced well according to the playing conditions and special drills were carried out to improve standards of fielding. He said the team is therefore confident ahead of the Test series.
The head coach was also asked about his performance as the team’s coach and while he agreed that he is not fully satisfied with the performance, he said that he is not worried about what is being said about his future.—AP