A left-thigh injury has ruled Shadab Khan, the legspinning allrounder who led Pakistan to a 2-1 defeat in the T20I series in New Zealand, out of the first Test, starting December 26 in Mount Maunganui. Left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar has been called up from the touring Pakistan Shaheens squad to fill in.
Khan had missed the home white-ball series against Zimbabwe in October-November with a groin injury, but had recovered in time for the New Zealand tour. The problem got worse during a tour game in Christchurch, but he was cleared to lead Pakistan in the T20Is after Babar Azam picked up a finger injury, which will keep him – along with Imam-ul-Haq, who has a thumb injury too – out of the first Test as well.
The PCB has confirmed that the allrounder complained about the pain in his left thigh and the initial assessment is that he won’t be available for selection for at least seven more days. He will have scans in Tauranga on Thursday to decide on the recovery and rehabilitation period.
Gohar, meanwhile, has already joined the Test side, travelling in from Hamilton, where he was preparing for the Shaheens’ T20 against the Northern Knights on Sunday. He was added to the touring party after a productive 2019-20 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, where he was the third-most successful bowler with 38 wickets, including five four-wicket hauls and one five-wicket haul for Central Punjab.
Gohar, 25, made his international debut in an ODI in 2015, in England, but hasn’t played for Pakistan since. He was in line for a Test debut when just 20, back in 2016, during the Test series in the UAE against England. But after being called up to replace the injured Yasir Shah, Gohar reached the Lahore airport only to sleep through the departure announcements. He has so far taken 144 wickets in 39 first-class matches, at an average of 28.56.