Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Pakistan spinner Shadab Khan has virtually been ruled out of the first Test against Australia in Dubai as he has failed to sufficiently recover from a groin injury.
Shadab suffered the injury during the recently-concluded Asia Cup, but Pakistan are optimistic that he will be fit for the second Test in Abu Dhabi, which will begin on October 16.
When Pakistan toured England earlier this year, head coach Mickey Arthur spoke about wanting to see Shadab bowl alongside fellow spinner Yasir Shah when the national team went up against the Baggy Greens.
With Shadab on track to be sidelined for the first Test, veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez is almost guaranteed to feature in his first Test since August 2016.
Hafeez was initially left out of the squad, but was called up following an impressive run of form for Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.
Some of Hafeez’s highlights included a six-wicket haul against the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and a magnificent 213 against Peshawar.
Off-spinning all-rounder Bilal Asif could potentially make his Test debut as well, along with left-arm seamer Mir Hamza, who could fill the gap left behind by Mohammad Amir, who was dropped for the series due to a poor run of form as of late, which included him going wicketless at the Asia Cup.
However, it is likely that Hamza will face stiff competition from fellow left-armer Wahab Riaz, who was recalled after being overlooked for Pakistan’s series against Ireland and England.
The first Test between Pakistan and Australia will begin on October 7.