Sarfaraz Ahmed to make a comeback in Test squad after four years

Sarfaraz Ahmed last played Test in 2019 against South Africa in which he took 10 catches and scored a half-century

Jaffar Hussain
Former Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed. —File
Former Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed. —File 

KARACHI: Former Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed will be included in the playing XI against New Zealand in the opening Test today in place of Mohmmad Rizwan, making a comeback in the squad after four years, sources told Geo News Monday.

He last played a Test in 2019 against South Africa in which he took 10 catches and scored a half-century.

The Pakistan team is expected to make three changes in the team selected for the first match against the Kiwis starting today in Karachi.

Pacer Mir Hamza will replace injured Naseem Shah while off spinner Sajid Khan is also expected to be inducted into the team, the sources added.

The changes in the Test team comes after the appointment of Shahid Afridi as the chief selector for the New Zealand series following changes in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) management. A 14-member body, headed by Najam Sethi, is tasked to oversee the PCB operations for 120 days.

Afridi calls for workload management

Speaking to the media in Karachi on Sunday, Shahid Afridi emphasised the need for players’ workload management and hinted at the inclusion of Mir Hamza and Sarfaraz Ahmed in the final XI.

The first major decision by Afridi was to include Mir Hamza, Sajid Khan and Shahnawaz Dahani in Pakistan’s Test squad for the home series.

Afridi told the media that players were included seeing their performances and Pakistan’s strength.

“I’ve got to know that Naseem Shah is not fully fit so it was good to add two fast bowlers in the squad. We’ve been carrying Shahnawaz Dahani for so many days, when will he get the opportunity. Also, when Shaheen is not around, it was important to have a left-hander that’s why Mir Hamza was included,” Shahid Afridi said.

“And, Mir Hamza has been performing well, I think he deserves to play now,” said the chief selector.

Afridi added that players’ workload management is important and it is something that the captain Babar Azam has also emphasised on.

“We have players who are constantly playing all formats. We need to strengthen our bench so that if one is rested there should be no problem, also we have some seniors who’ve been warming the bench for long, so lets see. I am meeting Babar Azam tonight and we will discuss how to move,” the chief selector said.

Afridi also added that he wants to see Babar Azam among the great captains and he will support him to become as good a captain as good a batsman he is.