Pakistan rested Shaheen Afridi, Imam-ul-Haq for third Test against Australia | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: Pakistan have opted to rest star pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi and opener Imam-ul-Haq for the third and final Test against Australia.
The decision was announced on Tuesday as Pakistan revealed their playing XI for the New Year’s Test, set to commence on Wednesday.

Pakistan’s strategic adjustments

The inclusion of 21-year-old Saim Ayub and 30-year-old Sajid Khan highlights the team’s strategic adjustments.

  • Saim Ayub, making his Test debut, arrives on the back of strong List A performances for Karachi, showcasing his potential after debuting in T20 international cricket in March of the previous year.
  • Despite limited Test experience, Saim brings a fresh perspective to the playing XI. In his eight T20I matches, he has accumulated 123 runs at an average of 17.57.
  • Sajid Khan, returning to the Test team after an almost two-year hiatus, last competed against Australia during their March 2022 tour of Pakistan.
  • With 22 wickets in seven Test matches, Sajid boasts a respectable record, providing Pakistan with a seasoned spin option.

Unchanged XI for Australia
Australia, on the other hand, have decided to maintain an unchanged playing XI for the third Test, as confirmed by skipper Pat Cummins on Tuesday.
Despite speculations about resting one of their primary quicks, Cummins asserted that all three have recovered well and are ready for the final match.
Warner’s farewell Test: The spotlight will be on veteran opener David Warner, bidding farewell to Test cricket in front of his home fans at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

With Australia holding an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series and currently ranked third in the ICC World Test Championship, the Sydney Test promises to be a significant encounter.
The match is scheduled to take place from January 3 to January 7, with anticipation building for Warner’s farewell and Pakistan’s strategic adjustments to challenge the hosts.
Third Test Squads:
Pakistan Playing XI: Saim Ayub, Abdullah Shafique, Shan Masood (c), Babar Azam, Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Salman Ali Agha, Sajid Khan, Hasan Ali, Mir Hamza and Aamer Jamal.
Australia Playing XI: Pat Cummins (c) David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Mitch Marsh, Alex Carey, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon and Josh Hazlewood.
(With inputs from ANI)

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