South Africa’s historic tour of Pakistan is set to begin on Tuesday with the first Test match of the two-match series at National Stadium Karachi. Pakistan will be looking to bounce back from the disappointing tour of New Zealand and will be raring to go with a revamped starting lineup.
Pakistan’s star batsman, Babar Azam, has fully recovered and will lead the team for the first time, becoming the 34th Test captain in Pakistan’s history.
Pakistan is rumored to hand Test caps to two new players. The opener, Imran Butt, and left-arm off-spinner, Nauman Ali, are likely to be a part of the team in the first Test, and fast bowler Hasan Ali is set to make a comeback.
Imran Butt and Nauman Ali have been exceptional in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy for the past couple of seasons. Imran Butt finished as the leading run-scorer of the tournament last year while Nauman Ali was the leading wicket-taker the previous year and the second-highest wicket-taker in this year’s competition.
Abid Ali and Imran Butt are likely to be the openers, with Azhar Ali will come at one down and Babar Azam at fourth. Fawad Alam and Mohammad Rizwan will complete the middle-order. Faheem Ashraf looks set to retain his spot in the starting line-up after an impressive display in New Zealand and will be the only all-rounder in the team.
Hasan Ali and Shaheen Afridi will form the fast-bowling unit of the team, while Yasir Shah and Nauman Ali will look to baffle the batsmen with their variety of spin. It is rumored that the pitch at National Stadium Karachi will offer a lot of assistance to the spinners. Therefore, Pakistan is looking to include two spinners in the team.
Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Nawaz, Sajid Khan, Tabish Khan, and Haris Rauf are the other player in the 17-man squad. They are likely to miss out on the spot in the starting lineup in the first Test but might be called into action in the second Test if things don’t go as planned for the management.
Probable playing XI:
Abid Ali, Imran Butt, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam (c), Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Yasir Shah, Nauman Ali, Shaheen Afridi.