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Pak vs Aus: Who will open Pakistan’s innings in first Test?

Pakistan Test squad greeting Aussie players after an innings

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Pakistan Test squad greeting Aussie players after an innings
Pak vs Aus: Who will open Pakistan's innings in first Test?
  • Imam-ul-Haq and Abdullah Shafiq to open Pakistan’s innings, say sources. 
  • Skipper Babar Azam, Azhar Ali and Fawad Alam to play in middle-order.
  • Sources say Muhammad Wasim likely to make his debut in Test series.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan left-handed batsman Imam-ul-Haq and Abdullah Shafiq will open Pakistan’s innings against Australia in the upcoming first Test, sources privy to the matter told Geo News.

According to sources, skipper Babar Azam, Azhar Ali and Fawad Alam will play as middle-order batsmen.

“Spinners Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, and Naseem Shah will also play the in first Test,” said the sources.

Muhammad Wasim Jr is also likely to make his debut in the first Test, the sources said. 

The three-match Test series will kickstart on March 4 (tomorrow) in Rawalpindi, while the city police have finalised security arrangements, and over 4,000 policemen will be deployed for the event.

The Pat Cummins-led side will face Pakistan in three Tests, three One-Day Internationals, and a Twenty20 International. 

Rawalpindi will host the opening Test and white-ball leg of the series, while Karachi and Lahore will host the second and third Tests, respectively.

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Weather in Rawalpindi: PMD prediction for the Pakistan-New Zealand T20Is

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Rain is expected to have an impact on Pakistan vs. New Zealand’s five-match Twenty20 International series.

According to meteorological projections, the city is likely to have thunderstorms and rain starting tomorrow, and the rain is predicted to continue all week.

The series’ final two games are slated to take place in Lahore.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has forecasted a “rain-windstorm/thunderstorm with an isolated hailstorm” on April 18 throughout a number of Pakistani regions, including upper/southwest Sindh, KP, Gilgit-Baltistan, Kashmir, Islamabad, Punjab, and Balochistan.

On April 20, however, precipitation was predicted by the Met Office for KP, the nation’s capital, Punjab, northeastern Balochistan, Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan.

The New Zealand team has already landed in Islamabad for an intriguing five-match Twenty20 International series against Pakistan, it should be mentioned.

Pakistan vs New Zealand T20I series:

18 April: 1st T20I, Rawalpindi (7pm Pakistan Standard Time)
20 April: 2nd T20I, Rawalpindi (7pm PST)
21 April: 3rd T20I, Rawalpindi (7pm PST)
25 April: 4th T20I, Lahore (7pm PST)
27 April: 5th T20I, Lahore (7pm PST)

Pakistan squad:
Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saim Ayub, Usman Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Azam Khan (wk), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Amir, Abbas Afridi, Abrar Ahmed, Fakhar Zaman, Irfan Khan Niazi, Usama Mir, and Zaman Khan
Reserves: Haseebullah, Mohammad Ali, Agha Salman, Sahibzada Farhan, and Mohammad Wasim Jr

New Zealand squad:
Michael Bracewell (c), Tom Blundell, Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Jacob Duffy, Dean Foxcroft, Ben Lister, Cole McConchie, Zak Foulkes, Jimmy Neesham, Will O’Rourke, Tim Robinson, Ben Sears, Tim Seifert (WK), and Ish Sodhi

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Pakistan

PCB acquires a multi-story structure next to Gaddafi Stadium

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The multi-story building is set to undergo renovations and be converted into a seven-star hotel, catering to both local and foreign guests.

With this development, the problem of housing foreign players and visiting teams during the Pakistan Super League (PSL)—who presently have to stay in five-star hotels in the area—will be resolved.

This will also save travel time and get rid of traffic problems while teams are traveling from their hotels to the stadium.

In addition, three significant stadiums, including the Gaddafi Stadium, are being renovated by PCB in preparation for the 2025 ICC Champions Trophy, which will be held in Pakistan.

In an interview with the media during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 9 final last month, Chairman PCB Mohsin Naqvi acknowledged the necessity of upgrading three main stadiums before moving on to other locations.

“Before the Champions Trophy, our three key venues—Lahore, Karachi, and Rawalpindi—will be refurbished. After these three are completed, we will renovate the remaining venues as well. After they are renovated, our stadiums will be state-of-the-art, according to Chairman PCB.

Later that month, representatives from NESPAK (National Engineering Services of Pakistan) gave the chairman the idea to renovate three significant stadiums.

In addition to highlighting the significance of renovating the hospitality boxes at all three locations, the chairman gave instructions to the officials about his plans to improve the view for the fans from every seat in the stadium, according to a press statement from the PCB.

“The Chairman directed the NESPAK officials to begin stadium work immediately, keeping in mind a tight window of time before hosting the ICC Champions Trophy 2025, as the upgradation plan will be finalized soon.”

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Shan Masood desires test matches between India and Pakistan.

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Due to long-standing political difficulties between the two adjacent countries, Pakistan and India have not played a Test match since 2007–08 and a bilateral series in any format since 2012–13.

However, only international competitions such as the Asia Cup and ICC World Cups brought the bitter adversaries together.

Their most recent match took place in front of an enormous crowd of about 130,000 in Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024, while their T20 World Cup 2022 match was seen by an even larger gathering of about 94,000 people at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

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