- Faheem returned a positive Covid test on arrival at the team hotel in Karachi
Pakistan’s selection woes for the Australia Test series continue as all-rounder Faheem Ashraf, who had missed the Rawalpindi Test due to an injury, was ruled out of the second Test after testing positive for Covid-19.
Faheem returned a positive Covid test on arrival at the team hotel in Karachi on Wednesday, an official of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) told Business Recorder.
“He will remain isolated in his room for the next five days,” the official said, adding that the team management will take a call on whether they need a replacement from outside the squad or one from a pool of traveling reserves.
Pakistan entered the Rawalpindi Test, which marked the return of the Australian cricket team to the country after 24 long years, without their first choice pacers as Faheem Ashraf and Hasan Ali were down with injuries, while Haris Rauf had tested positive for Covid days before the start of the Test.
Now that the latter two are available for selection ahead of the Karachi Test that starts on Saturday, March 12, Pakistan will still miss the services of Faheem Ashraf, who has been regular with the team as a bowling all-rounder for the last couple of years.
The 28-year-old had picked a hamstring injury towards the end of PSL 7 and failed to recover in time for the inaugural Test. According to sources, he had gained match fitness and was likely to be called for the Karachi Test, but got infected with the virus.
In his absence, Pakistan might go with Iftikhar Ahmed, who was initially called as his replacement for the first Test.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Pakistan squad tested negative, bringing back Hasan Ali and Haris Rauf in contention for selection.
Note here that the Rawalpindi Test had ended in a draw, as the cricket board prepared a pitch that produced 1,187 runs for only 14 wickets across five days.