Sarfraz names Hafeez in squad to face Australia

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Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed confirmed the return of veteran opener Mohammad Hafeez to the Test XI in a pre-match press conference in Dubai.

Sarfraz confirmed that 33-year-old off-spinner Bilal Asif would earn a Test debut.

Leg-spinner Shadab Khan misses out through injury with Yasir Shah returning to the team.

“You have seen how well he has played in domestic matches,” Sarfraz said of Hafeez. “That’s why we have picked him for the Test series.

“We want to take advantage of his form by playing him as an opener. He can also the do the job of the fifth bowler as we have often missed a fifth bowler in Test matches.

“I hope he will carry his domestic form into this series.”

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Safraz has called on the batsmen to make an impact in what could be a tough series against a wounded Australia.

“Batsmen need to take responsibility,” said Sarfraz. “In the past, out batsmen have always scored the runs and put the team in strong positions. (Recently) our batsmen haven’t been able to convert their starts.

“Hopefully, they will be able to do that in this series. Our batsmen have really worked hard in the practice sessions. When we get the opportunity, hopefully we will be able to score big.”

Mohammad Abbas will anchor the pace attack with the skipper set to wait until match day to decide which one of Wahab Riaz or Hamza Mir complete the XI.

Pakistan XII (final team to be named on Sunday morning Dubai time): Mohammad Hafeez, Imam-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Bilal Asif, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Wahab Riaz/Hamza Mir.