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Harsha Bhogle reacts to Shaheen's exclusion, excited for Saim's debut

Harsha Bhogle shared his thoughts on the selection calls, expressing his surprise at the exclusion of Shaheen Afridi

Harsha Bhogle reacts to Shaheen's exclusion, excited for Saim's debut PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan has announced two changes to their playing XI for Sydney Test against Australia, opting for debutant Saim Ayub and introducing spinner Sajid Khan while resting the pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi.

Famous cricket commentator, Harsha Bhogle shared his thoughts on the selection calls, expressing his surprise at the exclusion of Shaheen Afridi.

"Big call to be without Shaheen Afridi for the Sydney Test. I thought Pakistan's key bowlers would be Shaheen and Abrar but looks a bit thin without them. Excited to see Saim Ayub. I've heard a lot about him," Harsha wrote on X.

Big call to be without Shaheen Afridi for the Sydney Test. I thought Pakistan's key bowlers would be Shaheen and Abrar but looks a bit thin without them. Excited to see Saim Ayub. I've heard a lot about him.

— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) January 2, 2024

The left-handed batter, Saim Ayub, will make his international debut, replacing Imam-ul-Haq as an opener. Ayub, who has been making waves in domestic cricket, now faces the challenge of taking on the Australian pace attack in his maiden appearance.

The exclusion of Shaheen Afridi, who has an integral part of Pakistan's bowling line-up, comes as a strategic move, likely to manage his workload in a series where he has already bowled excessive overs.

"Shaheen Afridi has bowled most overs in world cricket in recent times. He gives his 150% in the training sessions as well. He keeps motivating his teammates. He is our main player. We'll make sure we look after Shaheen Afridi really well,” Pakistan skipper, Shan Masood said.

Pakistan's playing XI for the Sydney Test: Abdullah Shafique, Shan Masood (C), Babar Azam, Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Rizwan (WK), Salman Ali Agha, Sajid Khan, Hassan Ali, Mir Hamza, and Aamir Jamal, alongside the debutant Saim Ayub.