Ireland will make their Test debut in a historic game tomorrow at 3 pm (PST) in Dublin. Despite it being Ireland’s first Test match, Pakistan are likely to play their best playing eleven for numerous reasons. For a start, Pakistan would want to have some good match practice before they meet England in a two Test rubber later this month. Moreover, the green caps cannot afford to take their opponents lightly simply because their batting in particular is vulnerable in the kind of conditions that will be on offer in Dublin, Ireland. So, here is a quick look at Pakistan’s likely playing XI against Ireland.
Openers: Azhar Ali and Imam-ul-Haq
If there are no injury issues, it is almost certain that Azhar Ali will open with Imam-ul-Haq. Azhar did not perform well in the warm-up games. Nevertheless, he has been Pakistan’s most reliable Test batsman over the years and hence, there is no way the tour’s selection committee can afford to sit him out anytime during the tour.
Imam on the other hand, performed exceptionally well during the warm ups and therefore, he seems all set to make his Test debut tomorrow and play ahead of Sami Aslam.
Middle Order: Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam and Sarfraz
Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq and Babar Azam are likely to represent the national team at numbers 3, 4 and 5. All three of them scored decently in the final side game and thus, are likely to be automatic choices for the game tomorrow.
Captain Sarfraz did not have a good outing with the bat in the practice games but owing to all the obvious reasons he is likely to be slotted at the number six position during the game.
Spinner: Shadab Khan
Shadab was brilliant with the ball in both warm ups and remains to be the only specialist spinner in the squad. The teenager is also pretty capable of scoring a quick 30 or 40 while batting at number seven. So, leaving him out is for sure not an option for the team management.
Fast Bowlers: M. Amir, M. Abbas, Hasan Ali, Rahat Ali/Faheem Ashraf
Amir was unable to leave behind an impact in the practice games still, being the senior most fast bowler in the camp, he is most likely to make it to the playing eleven. Other fast bowlers including Rahat Ali, Hasan Ali and M. Abbas have had a good outing and all three are likely to feature in the playing eleven unless Pakistan chooses all-rounder Faheem Ashraf ahead of any one of them.