Sarfaraz Ahmed makes long-awaited Pakistan comeback

Former captain to keep wickets in first Test against New Zealand in Karachi

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Former Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed returned to the national Test team after nearly four years as their new selection committee made changes to the red-ball team after the shocking 3-0 series whitewash at home to England.

Ahmed, who last played a Test in January 2019, was selected in place of wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan for the first Test against New Zealand which began in Karachi on Monday, with left-arm seamer Mir Hamza also returning to the side having last played a Test in 2018.

It was the first major decision of the Shahid Afridi-led selection panel after Ramiz Raja was replaced as chairman of the board by veteran administrator Najam Sethi.

“Things have changed in the past two, three days and there have been changes, but as a professional you have to face such things,” Pakistan captain Babar Azam said on the eve of the Test.

“Our job is to put effort on the ground … and our full focus is on how to win the match, how to take a good start in the series and how to do well in all the three departments of the game.”

Following his appointment, Afridi had said he will look to strengthen the squad, especially the bowling department.

“We needed to strengthen our bowling department to give ourselves the best chance of taking 20 wickets in a match,” Afridi had said. “I am confident the inclusion of three additional bowling resources will give Babar Azam more options to field the best available squad for the first Test.”

Updated: December 26, 2022, 6:40 AM