ICL: Indian Cricket League

Pakistan may play two spinners in Karachi Test


After taking a long, hard look at the National Stadium’s wicket, Pakistan are considering the option of playing two specialist spinners in the opening Test against South Africa next week, writes Khalid Hussain.

‘The News’ has learnt through well-placed sources that Pakistani selectors included left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman in the 15-man squad that also has leg-spinner Danish Kaneria after examining the first Test pitch. The wicket is unlikely to offer any pace or bounce to the fast bowlers but should assist the spinners, especially in the second half of the match.

Initially, the selectors had decided to pick just one specialist spinner — Kaneria — in the Test squad but changed their mind after visiting the National Stadium on Friday.

The National Stadium witnessed a feast of runs when it last hosted a Test — between the hosts and the West Indies — and once again it could turn out to a batsmen’s paradise. In that Test played last year, Mohammad Yousuf scored a century in each innings to break Vivian Richards’s record of most Test runs in a year by taking his tally to 1788 in 12 Tests.

Pakistan are expecting Kaneria to play a major role in the two-match Test series. Kaneria, who recently returned home after an impressive season with Essex, just needs two more scalps to reach the 200-wicket mark in Tests.

According to the guidelines given by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the three-man national selection committee will name the final playing eleven ahead of the opening Test getting underway from October 1.

The committee’s chairman Salahuddin Ahmed alias Sallu will name the line-up after consultations with his fellow selectors — Shafqat Rana and Saleem Jaffar — Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik and coach Geoff Lawson.

Sources said that the selectors will keep faith in Salman Butt who will open the innings for Pakistan with either Mohammad Hafeez or Taufeeq Umar. Salman, who was given the team’s vice-captaincy earlier this summer, flopped miserably in the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa and had to be dropped from the line-ups for the semifinal and final of the 12-nation event.

The batsmen set to be chosen in the playing eleven are Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Misbah-ul-Haq and Shoaib Malik. Kamran Akmal will be the wicket-keeper while the pace attack will include Mohammad Asif, Umar Gul and Rao Iftikhar.

Source:Cricket News

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