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December 8, 2018

PAK TOUR OF SOUTH AFRICA: Out-of-form Imam retained in squad

Sports

December 8, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Imamul Haq, the biggest batting failure in a losing cause against New Zealand and the nephew of chief selector Inzamamul Haq, has again been named in the Pakistan side for three-Test away series against South Africa.

In the five innings, Imam played against New Zealand as an opener, he scored 73 with a poor average of less than 15 runs per innings.

His inability to handle quality bowling has already dealt a severe blow to Pakistan chances in Test cricket. Imam was seen struggling even at the first-class level at the time of his induction in Test squad. Even today his first-class average of around 35 is far below than the majority of consistent first-class cricketers, who have failed to attract selectors’ nod.

Abid Ali, Fawad Alam and host of other batsmen have not been picked despite outstanding performance for Pakistan A.

Despite two startling collapses during the series against New Zealand, the selectors have almost retained the same batting line-up for the series against South Africa. Fakhar Zaman replaced retired Mohammad Hafeez while Shan Masood comes in as backup opener.

The selection committee also recalled Mohammad Amir and Faheem Ashraf for the series against South Africa.

Muhammad Rizwan who is in superb batting form will act as backup wicketkeeper. Considering the form he has shown against England Lions, Rizwan can even fancy his chances of playing as a regular member of the batting lineup.

The team was named in consultation with coach Mickey Arthur and captain Sarfraz Ahmed.

“The best possible squad has been selected keeping in mind the conditions in South Africa. Three openers have been selected in the squad, where Shan Masood has been selected after the retirement of Mohammad Hafeez from Test cricket. Mohammad Amir makes a comeback in the team after regaining his form in the domestic cricket, giving strength to fast bowling attack that includes four pace bowlers. Muhammad Rizwan has been included in the squad after performing consistently in the domestic cricket and for Pakistan A,” Chief Selector Inzamamul Haq said.

The first Test of the three-match series will be played at Centurion from December 26-30. The second Test is scheduled for Cape Town from January 3-7. The third and final Test of the series will be played at Johannesburg from January 11-15.

Squad for South Africa tour: Imamul Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed (captain, wk), Muhammad Rizwan, Yasir Shah, Shadab Khan, Muhammad Abbas, Hassan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Faheem Ashraf and Shaheen Shah Afridi.

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