Hasan Ali in line for Pakistan return as Haris Rauf replacement
Pakistan looking to add experience to fast-bowling options for Multan Test
Pakistan are likely to call up fast bowler Hasan Ali to the Test squad to replace Haris Rauf, who has been ruled out of the rest of the England series with a quad injury. Rauf was injured while fielding during England's first innings in Rawalpindi, leading to a grade two strain in his right quad.
ESPNcricinfo understands Pakistan will call upon a fast bowler from outside the original 18-person squad for the second Test, starting in Multan on Friday. The only specialist fast bowler who didn't play the first Test for Pakistan was Mohammad Wasim Jnr. But Wasim Jnr is yet to play a Test match, while three of the four bowlers who played the first Test in Rawalpindi were also making their debut, and adding some experience to the attack is seen as desirable.
Hasan was one of the first names on the Pakistan team sheet until recently, having been named Pakistan's Test Cricketer of the Year for 2021. However, his tendency to hit form in streaks makes him a somewhat less reliable bowler for the Test side, and his red-ball numbers over the past year have dipped sharply. He played against Sri Lanka in July but was dropped for the England series, and his 14 wickets in the recently completed Quaid-e-Azam trophy for Southern Punjab came at 40 runs apiece.
However, his experience with the national side - he made his Test debut in 2017 and has played 21 Tests - will bolster a bowling line-up that is particularly wet behind the ears. In addition, his high ceiling potentially provides an X-factor that a Pakistan bowling line-up without Shaheen Shah Afridi arguably lacks.
Mohammad Abbas is another option, even if his line-and-length medium pace makes him an unsuitable like-for-like replacement for the injured Rauf. ESPNcricinfo understands Abbas has not yet been contacted, though an impressive Quaid-e-Azam trophy season - he took 18 wickets at 24.16 for Sindh - could make him an attractive option. In the first Test, Pakistan opted to play Mohammad Ali, a similar bowler to Abbas, though he had a debut to forget.
Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000