Pakistan’s First Test Against New Zealand: A Look At The Possible Playing XI

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Pakistan’s first Test against New Zealand begins on the coming Saturday and so, here is a look at the possible playing eleven during the opening encounter of the two match series.

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Top Three 

Shan Masood, Shan Masood "Blessing in Disguise", Pakistan's first Test against New Zealand
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Shan Masood and Abid Ali are likely to open in the match even though Abid seems to be out of form as of now. Former skipper, Azhar Ali then should come into bat at the crucial number three position. Due to the injuries to regular captain Babar Azam and opener Imam-ul-Haq the green shirts have little choice and hence, it is almost certain that Misbah-ul-Haq won’t experiment at all up the order.

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Azhar Ali Asad Shafiq Fawad Alam, Pakistan's first Test against New Zealand
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Haris Sohail it seems will make a yet another international comeback and bat at the number four position. Babar’s injury on the other hand is also likely to allow another chance to Fawad Alam who as of now is the favorite candidate to bat at the number five position.

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Lower Order

Mohd. Rizwan Azhar Ali, Inzamam-ul-Haq Pakistan's Test Captain, Inzamam-ul-Haq Pakistan's Test Captain, Pakistan's first Test against New Zealand
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The injury to Shadab Khan means that Pakistan might ask the stand in skipper i.e. Mohd. Rizwan to bat at the number six position while all-rounder Faheem Ashraf bats at number seven. Still, Pakistan might allow Imran Butt a debut game i.e. if they choose to go in with six regular batsmen in which case the think tank will have to drop Faheem and ask Rizwan to bat at number seven instead of six.

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If there are no further injuries ahead of the game then Yasir Shah is almost certain to lead the spin bowling attack while Shaheen Afridi, Mohd. Abbass and Naseem Shah are the certain choices to spearhead the fast bowling department.

So, What Really Should The Playing XI For Pakistan’s First Test Against New Zealand Look Like?

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The likely playing XI for Pakistan’s upcoming Test then should look somewhat similar to the following lineup.

Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Fawad Alam, Mohd. Rizwan (captain and wicket-keeper), Faheem Ashraf/Imran Butt, Yasir Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Mohd. Abbas, Naseem Shah