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Pakistan Announce Debutants for First Test Against Australia

Pakistan have named two uncapped fast bowlers, Aamir Jamal and Khurram Shahzad, in their playing XI for the first Test of the Benaud-Qadir Trophy against Australia, starting on Thursday at Perth Stadium.

The duo will join Shaheen Shah Afridi in a pace attack that will face a formidable Australian batting line-up, led by captain Pat Cummins and star batsman Steve Smith.

Pakistan will also have a new leader in Shan Masood, who will become the 35th Test captain of the country, after Babar Azam’s resignation from all three formats following an ordinary performance in the ODI World Cup 2023 in India.

Masood will have the services of Babar, who is the only Pakistani batsman in the top 10 of the ICC Test rankings, along with Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Saud Shakeel and former skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed. The middle order will be bolstered by all-rounders Salman Ali Agha and Faheem Ashraf.

Pakistan will be hoping to end their long drought of Test wins in Australia, where they have not tasted victory since 1995. The Green Shirts will also be facing an Australian side that is high on confidence, after stunning India in the ODI World Cup final in November. The hosts have a formidable record at home, having won 10 out of their last 11 Tests.

The series will be a tough challenge for Masood, who will have to emulate the feats of some of the greatest captains in Pakistan’s history, such as Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram, and Misbah-ul-Haq, who all failed to win a Test series in Australia.

Pakistan squad: Shan Masood (captain), Sarfaraz Ahmed (wicket-keeper), Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Babar Azam, Saud Shakeel, Salman Ali Agha, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Aamir Jamal, Khurram Shahzad.

Australia squad: Pat Cummins (captain), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Lance Morris, Steve Smith, Mitch Starc, David Warner.

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