Two changes expected in Pakistan playing XI for Sydney Test

The Sydney Test will begin on 3rd January, 2024

Two changes expected in Pakistan playing XI for Sydney Test PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan cricket team management is pondering to make two changes in their playing XI for third and final Test in Sydney against Australia.

Cricket Pakistan understands that management is considering dropping opener Imam-ul-Haq and possibly introducing a spinner to tackle the conditions at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

Imam-ul-Haq, who has struggled to find his footing in the first two Tests against Australia, might face exclusion from the playing XI for the upcoming match. Despite a relatively better performance in one innings, scoring 62 in the first Test, his overall contribution has been below par. His slow-paced batting style has seemingly failed to align with the dynamic approach desired by Pakistan's evolving brand of cricket.

The team management is reportedly eyeing Saim Ayub as a potential replacement for Imam-ul-Haq. The young batsman, if selected, will be donning the Test cap for the first time.

Moreover, the pitch conditions at the SCG, known for providing support to spinners, have prompted Pakistan's think tank to contemplate including a spinner in the playing XI. If spinner Abrar Ahmed, who is nursing an injury, regains full fitness, he is likely to be the preferred choice. However, in the event of Abrar Ahmed's unavailability, Sajid Khan stands ready to fill the spin-bowling role.

This strategic shift towards spin could potentially lead to the omission of pacer Hasan Ali from the lineup. The decision to prioritize spin over pace underscores Pakistan's adaptation to the conditions prevalent at the SCG, aiming to maximize their chances of clinching victory in the forthcoming Test.

The Sydney Test will begin on 3rd January, 2024.