Pakistan have suffered another massive blow ahead of their historic first Test against Australia, starting from March 4 in Rawalpindi. Fast-bowler Haris Rauf has tested positive for Covid-19, and Naseem Shah, who was initially a traveling reserve, has replaced him in the squad for the series opener.
Pakistan have been forced to make more changes to their squad since the beginning of the week for the historic opening Test against Australia, beginning on March 4 in Rawalpindi. They had lost Hasan Ali and Faheem Ashraf earlier due to injuries, and brought in Iftikhar Ahmed and Mohammad Wasim Jr as replacements.
Now, Pakistan have suffered another huge blow with fast-bowler Haris Rauf testing positive for Covid-19, which rules him out of the series opener. Rauf had cleared a Covid test on arrival in Islamabad on February 28, but tested positive for the virus from a Rapid Antigen Test a day later. He will remain in isolation for five days and will re-join the squad after returning a negative test at the end of his isolation period.
Meanwhile, Naseem Shah, originally a travelling reserve for Pakistan, has eventually made the cut as Rauf’s replacement. Naseem’s last Test appearance came in January 2021 in Christchurch, and is now likely to fight for a spot in the playing XI with Mohammad Wasim Jr.
The three-match Test series will be Australia’s first series in Pakistan since 1998.
Pakistan Squad for first Test: Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan (vice-capt), Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Naseem Shah, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Saud Shakeel, Zahid Mahmood