Pakistan name their playing XI for the final Test vs Australia

After losing the first two Tests of the series, Pakistan has decided to give a break to Shaheen Shah Afridi for the New Year’s Test in Sydney, starting from January 3, to manage his workload. The Pakistan team management had clarified they won’t push Shaheen for the third match if they lose the Boxing Day Test, with the T20 World Cup approaching.

Sajid Khan replaced the ace pacer in the playing XI. The 30-year-old replaced Abrar Ahmed, when the latter was ruled out of the series after the first Test. He featured in the tour match against Victoria XI but could not make an impact as he picked up just one wicket and scored six runs.

On the other hand, Mohammad Rizwan has retained his place after an impressive performance in Melbourne. He made 42 and 35 and sealed his spot in the playing XI as skipper Shan Masood continues to back him ahead of veteran Sarfaraz Ahmed.

The focus will be on Babar Azam in the final Test of the series. The former Pakistan skipper was expected to get better with the bat after relinquishing his position as the captain but that hasn’t been the case. In four innings so far this series, the 29-year-old has scored only 77 runs, which has questioned his authority with the bat outside Asia.

Meanwhile, the bowling unit looks pale with Shaheen, Naseem Shah, and Haris Rauf missing. Naseem is currently recovering from a shoulder injury and is expected to be back before the Pakistan Super League (PSL), while Rauf decided to play in the Big Bash League (BBL) over Test cricket. In their absence, Hasan Ali will have to take more responsibility with the ball.

Pakistan playing XI for third Test vs Australia

Saim Ayub, Abdullah Shafique, Shan Masood (c), Babar Azam, Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Salman Agha, Sajid Khan, Hasan Ali, Mir Hamza, Aamir Jamal