Pak vs Aus: Will Abrar Ahmed play third Test against Australia?

Mystery spinner missed the first two Tests

By Web Desk
January 01, 2024
Abrar Ahmed

The third Test match between Pakistan and Australia is scheduled to commence on January 3, 2023, at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

The visiting team has faced defeat in both of the initial two Tests, yet the upcoming match bears significance in the context of the ICC World Test Championship.

In the meantime, the Pakistan team is optimistic about the potential return of the enigmatic spinner Abrar Ahmed for the conclusive Test. Abrar, sidelined due to a right leg injury for the first two Tests, participated in a considerable bowling stint during Pakistan's training session on Monday, displaying no apparent discomfort.

ESPNCricinfo reported that the nature of Abrar's injury means it does not guarantee his participation in the third Test. While he was initially ruled out after complaining of "discomfort in his right leg" during Pakistan's tour game against Prime Minister's XI in Canberra, Abrar's history of injury issues makes any degree of certainty elusive.

The report additionally stated that Abrar's condition is impacted by a pinched nerve in his right leg and muscle weakness. He received injections as part of his treatment. However, Pakistan will await his condition overnight following today's training. If considerable pain or discomfort emerges within the next 12 hours, it will dictate whether he can commence in the final Test.

Since he was initially ruled out of the first Test, the PCB only issued a vague update about his fitness status when ruling him out of the second. They declared that his "symptoms have significantly improved" but that he was not "100% asymptomatic".

Pakistan is also aware of the risk of any injury to Abrar in a T20 World Cup year. He is part of Pakistan's squad for the upcoming five-match T20I series against New Zealand, and the PCB considers him a valuable white-ball asset as well as a key Test spinner.

Abrar, 25, has only featured in six Tests since his debut against England last December. However, with 11 wickets in his maiden Test and a total of 38 so far, combined with the scarcity of Pakistan's spin-bowling options, he has become an important player. Despite enduring numerous lengthy and persistent injuries in his early cricketing days, there were indications that he was overcoming those challenges, although his current injury scare could potentially reverse some of the progress he has made.

Pakistan has also enlisted Sajid Khan and Mohammad Nawaz as cover, although neither has participated in a Test match during this series. Both were involved in Pakistan's training session on Monday.

Pakistan is keen on fielding a specialist spinner in the third Test, having opted for an all-seam attack in the previous two matches. Agha Salman fulfilled the spinner's role in those games, and although his discipline and economy rate have impressed Pakistan, the absence of a spinner capable of taking wickets has been noticeable. While Nathan Lyon has secured nine wickets in the first two Tests, Salman has only managed one