Pakistan have confirmed that their danger man, Mohammad Abbas, will miss out on the Boxing Day Test against the Proteas at Centurion, with Shadab Khan also on the injured list.
‘Abbas is not fit for the first Test. Hopefully he will be fit for the second Test. Shadab Khan, too, will be back for the second Test, but Fakhar Zaman is fit,’ said Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed at a press conference at Supersport Park ahead of the Boxing Day Test.
Abbas suffered a shoulder injury that recently forced him to miss the third Test against New Zealand, which Pakistan lost, and he is not yet back to full match fitness.
Leg-spinner Shadab’s continued struggles with a groin injury have kept him on the sidelines for some time, although his return to Test duty is imminent, which will be good news for Mickey Arthur’s side.
Abbas has proved a sensation in his short Test career, including starring in the Test series against Australia on the tame UAE tracks in October, snapping up 17 Aussie wickets at a cost of just 10.58 runs per wicket.
His absence for the first Test on South African soil will be a bitter blow for Pakistan, as he would have challenged the Proteas batters on the Centurion pitch.
Pakistan are likely to call on their four remaining seamers – Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali and Shaheen Afridi and all-rounder Faheem Ashraf – for the Centurion Test, with leg-spinner Yasir Shah likely to add balance to the attack.
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