Shadab Khan has been ruled out of the first Test against Australia in Dubai with a groin injury that he picked up during the Asia Cup.
Pakistan are hopeful he will be fit for the second Test in Abu Dhabi.
Shadab’s injury opens the door for a return to the side for Muhammad Hafeez, the veteran allrounder who has not played a test for over two years. Hafeez has a great record against left-handers, and with Australia fielding 3 lefties in their top six he will be a useful option for Pakistan
The offspinning allrounder Bilal Asif also now has a great chance of making his test debut.
Shadab’s absence is blow for the Pakistan team as he just started to establish himself in test cricket. Coach Mickey Arthur had said he would have loved to have an attack with two quality legspinners in Yasir Shah and Shadab. Shadab had also been excellent with the bat, scoring 3 fifties in difficult condition against Ireland and England.
Pakistan will again be looking towards spin as a decisive factor against Australia in the series. During Australia’s last tour in the UAE four years ago, Yasir Shah, Zulfiqar Babar and Hafeez took 30 of 40 wickets in Pakistan’s 2-0 series victory.