Pakistan retains 6 uncapped players for SA squad

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Pakistan retains 6 uncapped players for SA squad

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has retained six uncapped players in its squad of 17 for today’s first Test against South Africa in Karachi.

Three rookie batsmen — Kamran Ghulam, Abdullah Shafique and Salman Ali Agha — will remain with the team, but the Pakistan Cricket Board said they will not be considered for selection.

The selectors had initially announced 20 players for the two-Test series but trimmed the squad to 17 for the first Test at the National Stadium.

The second Test will be played at Rawalpindi from February 8 and will be followed by a three-match T20 series at Lahore from February 11-14.

The six uncapped players include opening batsman Imran Butt, middle-order batsman Saud Shakeel, spinners Nauman Ali and Sajid Khan and fast bowlers Haris Rauf and Tabish Khan.

“We know the home conditions and we have a chance here to play good cricket and win,” Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq said during a virtual press conference.

Pakistan has lost only two out of 44 Test matches played at the National Stadium and one of those defeats came against South Africa when it last toured in 2007. England is the only other team that has won in Karachi when it beat Pakistan by six wickets in 2000.

Opening batsman Abid Ali, captain Babar Azam and Azhar Ali all scored centuries against Sri Lanka in the last Test match here in December 2019 when Pakistan won by 263 runs.

Misbah said Pakistan has to rectify its shortcomings in fielding to beat South Africa. Without the injured Babar, Pakistan lost a recent Test series 2-0 in New Zealand when it dropped more than half a dozen catches.