Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Pakistan have surprisingly chosen to drop pace bowler Mohammad Abbas for the first Test against Australia in Brisbane.
Abbas was left out of the playing XI in favour of 16-year-old seamer Naseem Shah and fellow pace bowler Imran Khan.
Pakistan Test captain Azhar Ali confirmed on Wednesday that Naseem would make his international debut in the match.
However, what doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense is the fact that Pakistan have left out their elite pace bowler in Test cricket.
Don’t forget, Abbas has enjoyed a superb start to his Test career so far as he has taken 66 wickets in 14 Tests at an average of 18.86.
Furthermore, in October last year, Abbas tormented the Australian batsmen in a two-Test series in the United Arab Emirates as he took 17 wickets at an incredible average of 10.58.
Imran, on the other hand, last played Test cricket in January 2017. In the nine Tests he has played to date, he has taken 28 wickets at an average of 30.14.
However, he did take a five-wicket haul on the second day of Pakistan’s practice match against Australia A.
After Pakistan scored 428, Imran carved through Australia A’s batting line-up, dismissing Joe Burns, Will Pucovski, Alex Carey, Michael Neser and Jhye Richardson.
Australia A were bowled out for a measly 122 behind Imran’s figures of 5-32 off 12 overs.
Despite this, it is mind-boggling that a five-for in a practice match would enable Imran to come into the side and replace Abbas, who is currently 12th on the rankings for Test bowlers.
Whatever the case, Pakistan have made their decision, but will they rue it over the course of the first Test?