JOHANNESBURG: Injury fears hover over the Pakistan cricket team as Pakistan fast-bowler Mohammad Abbas has been ruled out from the opening Test against South Africa starting from December 26 and spinner Shadab Khan continue to be in doubt for the first Test against South Africa.
According to sources, Abbas is nursing a shoulder issue while Shadab has a groin injury which lead him sitting out of the three-day practice match against Cricket South Africa.
The bowler suffered shoulder injury during the second Test against New Zealand. He also missed the series decider against the Kiwis — which Pakistan lost by 123 runs earlier this month.
According to source, Opener Fakhar Zaman is also suffering from a knee problem.
Mohammad Amir — who was sidelined after below-par performance in the Asia Cup — is set to replace the injured pacer. He is expected to feature alongside fellow pacers Shaheen Shah Afridi — who made his debut against New Zealand in the recently concluded Test series in UAE – and Hasan Ali.
Meanwhile, the opening slot, which was vacant after the retirement of veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez, will now be filled by returning left-hander Fakhar Zaman.
Zaman missed series against the Blackcaps after sustaining knee injury during second Test against Australia. He had made his Test debut in the same game and scored 94 and 66 in first and second innings respectively.
Opener Imamul Haq — who scored only 74 runs in his last three Tests — showed some form with the bat in the tour game. The left-handed batsman scored a promising 66 in the second innings to help Pakistan win the game.
The Tests will be followed by five one-day internationals in which both teams will be looking to settle on combinations ahead of the Cricket World Cup in England and Wales, starting on May 30.
There will also be three T20 internationals — a format in which Pakistan top the international rankings.
Pakistan Test Squad:
Sarfraz Ahmed (captain/wicketkeeper), Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Yasir Shah
December 26-30: First Test, Centurion
January 3-7: Second Test, Cape Town
January 11-15: Third Test, Johannesburg
January 19: First ODI, Port Elizabeth
January 22: Second ODI, Durban
January 25: Third ODI, Centurion
January 27: Fourth ODI, Johannesburg
January 30: Fifth ODI, Cape Town
February 1: First T20I, Cape Town
February 3: Second T20I, Johannesburg
February 6: Third T20I, Centurion