Cape Town - Pakistan
coach Mickey Arthur has called on the senior players in his squad to
fill the void left by Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan in the Test side.
The Asian side will play in the longest format for the first time
since the duo retired from international cricket in May when Pakistan
take on Sri Lanka in a two-match Test series starting Abu Dhabi on
As much as Pakistan will miss the calm and experience of Misbah and
Younis, they played a combined total of 193 Tests, the team also have to
replace the runs the pair got in the batting order.
Over 15 000 Test runs and 44 hundreds have been lost to the Pakistan
team but Arthur has urged guys like Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq to lead
the way with the bat.
Arthur said: "The challenge is there and it's a new chapter, a new dawn for our Test team.
"Of course it will be very unfair to the guys you bring in to the
team to say they are the replacements. I think it is now on people like
Azhar Ali, who has been superb for us last year in the Tests.
"Asad Shafiq, and to a lesser extent Babar Azam - it is incumbent on
those three guys standing up taking the bulk of the runs now.
"The other guys are young and inexperienced and are where Azam was a year ago and Shafiq a couple of years ago."
The Pakistan coach also spoke about the goals for the Test side in the future with a tour to England next year on the horizon.
However with a younger unit at his disposal, Arthur is looking to
build the side successfully for a Test series victory in South Africa in
Arthur continued: "Things are shaping up well and this is a real challenge for us. We had a good chat with the boys.
"I think we're ranked sixth at the moment and we have to work on
getting it down. We have set ourselves some realistic goals. South
Africa 2019 (Pakistan are scheduled to tour there at the end of 2018) is
our ultimate goal.
"That's where we want to be where we think we can be with this group of players."
Ahmed (captain), Azhar Ali, Shan Masood, Sami Aslam, Babar Azam, Asad
Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Usman Salahuddin, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Asghar,
Bilal Asif, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Abbas, Wahab
Dinesh Chandimal (captain),
Lahiru Thirimanne, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kusal
Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella,
Rangana Herath, Lakshan Sandakan, Dilruwan Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan
Pradeep, Vishwa Fernando, Lahiru Gamage