Naseem Shah, who was originally a travelling reserve, has been included in the Pakistan squad for the first Test against Australia after Haris Rauf was ruled out after testing positive for COVID-19, Pakistan Cricket Board announced on Tuesday. Haris will remain in isolation for five days and will reintegrate with the squad after a negative test at the end of his isolation period.
Following Rauf’s positive test on Tuesday, the rest of the squad members and support personnel were retested. All these tests have come out negative.
On Sunday, Faheem Ashraf and Hasan Ali were ruled out of the first Test against Australia due to injuries. Iftikhar Ahmed and Mohammad Wasim were then added to the squad as their replacements for the series opener, which is slated to be played from March 4-8 at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium.
Rauf was in contention to make his Test debut in his Rawalpindi hometown after fast bowler Hasan Ali and allrounder Faheem Ashraf were ruled out of the first Test due to injuries they picked up in the Pakistan Super League last week. With him ruled out, it was a toss up between Mohammad Abbas and Naseem Shah to be included in the squad.
The tour marks the first time in 24 years that Australia will be playing Pakistan. The second Test of the series will be played in Karachi from March 12 after which the third Test will be hosted in Lahore from March 21. The tour returns to Rawalpindi, where three ODIs will be played on March 29, 31 and April 2 and a lone T20I on April 5.