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Pakistan lose Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf to injury for first Australia Test

Pair expected to be fit for the second Test; Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Wasim jnr called up as cover

Hasan Ali shows off the ball after picking up a five-wicket haul, Bangladesh vs Pakistan, 1st Test, Chattogram, 2nd day, November 27, 2021

Hasan Ali was the third-highest wicket-taker in Test cricket in 2021  •  AFP/Getty Images

Pakistan have suffered a massive blow ahead of their historic first Test against Australia with the loss of both Hasan Ali and Faheem Ashraf through injuries. Iftikhar Ahmed and Mohammad Wasim jnr have been called up to replace the pair, but the holes left by the injured pair will not be easily filled.
Both Hasan and Ashraf were part of Islamabad United's injury-hit PSL campaign that ended on Friday evening with their narrow loss to finalists Lahore Qalandar.
Ashraf missed the game with a hamstring strain while Hasan played, but limped off towards the end of Lahore's innings with what has now been confirmed as an abductor strain.
The pair have been key to Pakistan's Test side over the last year. Ashraf has been the seam-bowling allrounder Pakistan haven't had for years and though he's taken only 10 wickets in the eight Tests he played in 2021, he was essential in providing shape and discipline to the attack, as well as relief for the other bowlers - something successive Pakistan attacks over the years have lacked. With the bat he's averaged nearly 40 through 2021.
Hasan, meanwhile, was the third-highest wicket-taker in Tests last year, behind his team-mate Shaheen Shah Afridi and R Ashwin with 41 wickets at an average of just 16.
The pair is expected to be fit for second Test, which starts in Karachi on March 12.
"Faheem and Hasan will rejoin the squad in the coming week and, after completing their three-day mandatory isolation, integrate with the rest of the squad during the first Test. Both are expected to regain full fitness before the second Test that will be played in Karachi 12-16 March," the PCB said.
"Both Iftikhar and Wasim (chosen due to their all-round ability) will reach Islamabad tonight and start their three-day isolation at the team hotel, after which they will join the rest of the squad after clearing Covid tests."
The first Test begins in Rawalpindi on March 4, the first international game Australia have played in Pakistan in over 23 years.