Sarfaraz Ahmed was picked in the XI for the first Test against New Zealand, turning out in the whites for Pakistan for the first time since January 2019. He replaced Mohammad Rizwan, without a fifty in his last 12 innings.
Pakistan dropped their T20I opener, Rizwan, for the first Test against New Zealand in Karachi on Monday after a string of low scores, instead giving former skipper Sarfaraz an opportunity after nearly four years. Shahid Afridi, newly installed as Pakistan’s interim chair of selectors, has had an instant impact on the XI, with captain Babar Azam confirming that the former all-rounder had had an input on the team picked.
Rizwan’s 2016 Test debut was his only appearance for three years before coming back into contention in November 2019. Pakistan were looking for a replacement for Sarfaraz, who was removed as captain in May 2019, with Azhar Ali replacing him. He was left out for his team’s next Test series, against Australia in November 2019, allowing for Rizwan’s recall.
Things have now come full circle, with Sarfaraz making a return to the Test side in place of Rizwan. Sarfaraz is playing his 50th game, and his first in Pakistan. The 35-year-old is in the midst of an impressive run of form, scoring 394 runs in eight games at the 2022-23 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, averaging 43.77 with one hundred and three fifties.
His return sparked a number of reactions from journalists and experts on social media.
Couple of bad series don’t make anyone a poor player. Out of form players must be backed. Only that way you can establish a team. Pakistan prematurely dropped Shan Masood in 2020 and it wasted his two peak years. Hope it does not happen with Rizwan or any other player. #PakvNZ
— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) December 25, 2022
I'm so confused. I thought babar was a dictatorial captain who called all the shots? how was he unable to stand up for rizwan? and if he took this call himself, he really thinks sarfaraz deserves to play over this guy? this doesn't make sense
— eman (@exharrie) December 26, 2022
List of Pakistan's wicketkeeper-batters to play 50 or more Test matches:
– Wasim Bari
– Moin Khan
– Kamran Akmal
– Sarfaraz Ahmed#PAKvNZ
— Farid Khan (@_FaridKhan) December 26, 2022
After 4 long years @SarfarazA_54 back in Pakistan team. Thank you @SAfridiOfficial for justice to deserving players. Mir Hamza playing test after 2018. Imamul haq back. Rizwan, Faheem, drop. Azhar retire.
— Abdul Majid Bhatti (@bhattimajid) December 26, 2022
The post ‘This doesn’t make sense’ – Rizwan dropped, 35-year-old Sarfaraz makes Test return after nearly four years against New Zealand appeared first on Wisden.