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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 19 June 2024

Weakened Pakistan will look to play more bowlers in Boxing Day match against Australia

Pakistan spinner Noman Ali became the second player in two days to withdraw from the touring squad for the remainder of the three-Test series due to illness and injury. Left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz will replace Ali in the squad, the selection committee said on the weekend

Our Bureau And Agencies Melbourne Published 26.12.23, 10:22 AM
In a picture shared on X by the PCB, Australia's Usman Khawaja (left) chats with Pakistan captain Shan Masood on the sidelines of practice in Melbourne on Monday.

In a picture shared on X by the PCB, Australia's Usman Khawaja (left) chats with Pakistan captain Shan Masood on the sidelines of practice in Melbourne on Monday. Sourced by The Telegraph

Pakistan go into Tuesday’s Boxing Day match against Australia on a 15-match Test losing streak, not having won Down Under since November 1995.

The team’s ever-expanding injury list heading into the Melbourne Test won’t make ending the streak any easier.

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Pakistan spinner Noman Ali became the second player in two days to withdraw from the touring squad for the remainder of the three-Test series due to illness and injury. Left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz will replace Ali in the squad, the selection committee said on the weekend.

Ali, who didn’t play in the 360-run defeat in the first Test at Perth last week, underwent surgery for appendicitis in Melbourne on Saturday.

“Noman Ali complained of sudden and severe abdominal pain yesterday, leading to examinations and scans in emergency that confirmed a diagnosis of acute appendicitis,” a Pakistan team statement read.

“Post-surgery he is stable and doing fine. He will be discharged later (on Saturday).”

The latest blow for the visitors comes after fast bowler Khurram Shahzad, who took match figures of 5/128 in his impressive Test debut in Perth, was ruled out for the remainder of the series with a rib stress fracture and muscle tear on Thursday.

Leg-spinner Abrar Ahmed, who sat out the first Test, was also ruled out of the second because of a leg injury.

Pakistan travelled to Australia with a weakened bowling line-up after fast bowler Naseem Shah was ruled out due to a long-term injury and Haris Rauf opted to play in Australia’s BBL instead of joi­ning the touring squad.

“It is really unfortunate that Noman Ali is not available for the Test matches,” chief selector Wahab Riaz said. “Due to logistical challenges, including visa issues for any new player, and considering the requirement for a left-arm spinner, Nawaz was the best available choice for the side.”

Specialist off-spinner Sajid Khan is set to play in the Boxing Day Test.

Pakistan went into the first Test at Perth with just two specialist bowlers in Shaheen Shah Afridi and debutant Shahzad, but in Melbou­rne, the visitors would be playing either Mir Hamza or Hasan Ali with Shaheen and all-rounder Aamer Jamal and Sajid. Salman Ali Agha will be the fifth bowler.

The management has already dropped wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfaraz Ahmed for the second Test and recalled Mohammad Rizwan.

With inputs from AP/PTI

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