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Vacuum after Ajmal: Pakistan relies on Yasir Shah for Australia tests

DUBAI: Pakistan Tuesday named uncapped leg-spinner Yasir Shah to replace the suspended Saeed Ajmal in their preliminary 19-man squad for the two Tests against Australia starting next week in the United Arab Emirates.

Shah, 28, was one of the leading wicket-takers in the domestic season last year, with 48 scalps, but had little success in one-dayers or the two Twenty20s he played on the tour of Zimbabwe three years ago.

He has yet to play a Test but chief selector Moin Khan said he expects Shah to deliver.

“Shah is one of the fast-rising spinners at the domestic level and we have hopes that he will come good against Australia,” Khan told AFP by telephone from Dubai.

The first Test begins in Dubai on October 22 and the second in Abu Dhabi on October 30.

Pakistan face a tough challenge to replace Ajmal, who has single-handedly anchored the team’s wins across all three formats over the last five years.

Ajmal’s bowling action was reported as suspect during the Galle Test in Sri Lanka in August. It was subsequently found to be illegal after biomechanic analysis in Australia which led to his suspension.

Left-arm spinners Zulfiqar Babar and Raza Hasan — who both played in the 3-0 one-day series defeat against Australia in the UAE which finished on Sunday — are also in the preliminary squad.

But there was no place for Ajmal’s spinning partner Abdur Rehman, who endured a miserable tour of Sri Lanka where Pakistan lost both Tests in August.

Experienced batsman Younis Khan returns to the Test squad after being dropped for the one-day series against Australia.

The announcementy of a preliminary Test squad came after pacemen Wahab Riaz and Junaid Khan were injured during the one-day series against Australia.

“We will reduce the Test squad to 15 after the four-day practice match between Pakistan ‘A’ and Australia in Sharjah starting on Wednesday,” said Khan.

Two uncapped paceman, Imran Khan and Ataullah, who uses only one name, are also in the initial squad. – AFP

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