Misbah critical over lack of Yasir cover
Pakistan captain Misbah ul Haq has expressed his disappointment with the selectors over not having another spinner in the squad to cover for the injured Yasir Shah in the opening Test in Abu Dhabi. Pakistan prefer to play two fast bowlers and at least two specialist spinners but were forced to bring in Imran Khan as part of a three-man seam attack after a back spasm ruled out Yasir.
Pakistan initially named a 15-man squad, with another spinner - either Zafar Gohar or Mohammad Asghar - expected to come in as a 16th player but instead Shoaib Malik was selected having not played a Test in five years. Less than 24 hours before the first Test, Yasir collapsed during a training session and he was unable to prove his fitness on Tuesday morning. It was a major setback for Pakistan, with their plans centred on Yasir.
The flaw in their selection was immediately apparent, with no spinner sitting on the bench as a cover. Misbah made his feelings clear before the start of the match, saying: "I think it's a mismanagement and we're really disappointed by this."
The team's management had attempted to bring back Gohar but the uncapped left-arm spinner had already returned to Pakistan after playing in two warm-up matches against England and had to apply for another visa.
The PCB made every effort to fly Gohar overnight to Abu Dhabi from Lahore and make him available for selection but time was against them. He did not make it and Pakistan had to play three seamers against their will, leading to Misbah voicing his disapproval publically.
It was, however, with the consent of Misbah that team management preferred Malik to either Gohar or Asghar. Both were to be judged while playing for Pakistan A against England in Sharjah last week, with Gohar emerging as the standout performer with figures of 2 for 47 and 3 for 72.
It is understood that Misbah was not happy with the selections in the first place, with four seamers and two spinners included, but he did not resist and the squad was ultimately named with his consent. With Mohammad Hafeez currently banned from bowling, Zulfiqar Babar will therefore carry the spin burden, although Malik - who has 21 Test wickets at 61.47 - is also likely to contribute.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson