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Pakistan cricket squad off to UAE for Sri Lanka series

LAHORE: Led by Sarfraz Ahmad, the Pakistan cricket team left here for the United Arab Emirates on early Sunday to play a two-Test series against Sri Lanka. The travelling entourage comprised of 16 players and nine officials. The Test series begins on Thursday (September 28) with the second match taking place on October 6. The national outfit was announced on Saturday with five uncapped players. The team looks to move on from the retirements of legends Younus Khan and Misbahul Haq. Pakistan and Sri Lanka will also play five one-day internationals and two T20 matches in the Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. A third T20 match will be played at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium subject to security clearance. The PCB has recalled Yasir Shah, Wahab Riaz and Azhar Ali whereas Ahmad Shahzad and Mohammad Rizwan have been dropped from the team.

Batsmen Haris Sohail and Usman Salahuddin are in line to play the five-day game for the first time, having already featured in ODIs previously. The duo will be looking to make the spots left behind by Misbah and Younus their own. Spin-bowling all-rounder Bilal Asif and left-armer Mohammad Asghar are the other players in the squad yet to play in Tests along with fast-bowler Mir Hamza. Sarfraz, leading the side in whites for the first time, has warned his charges that victory against Sri Lanka will not come easy for the team. The skipper admitted Younus and Misbah’s departure has left a void that needs to be filled as soon as possible. Batting coach Grant Flower, on the other hand, has earmarked Usman Salahuddin and Babar Azam are potential players to fill the gap of two legendary players.

Pakistan team: Sarfraz Ahmad (c), 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 Riaz.

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