Bilal to join Pakistan squad, Azhar to return home

ABU DHABI: Offspinner Bilal Asif will join the Pakistan Test squad in the UAE after undergoing a test of his bowling action in Chennai.


Bilal had been reported for a suspect action following the third ODI against Zimbabwe in Harare earlier this month, and will provide spin cover to Pakistan, after legspinner Yasir Shah missed the first Test against England with a back spasm.

With Yasir unavailable, Pakistan were forced to field a three-man seam attack along with Zulfiqar Babar as the sole specialist spinner in Abu Dhabi.

Misbah-ul-Haq had expressed his disappointment at the absence of adequate spin cover in the squad. Yasir is expected to be fit for the second Test in Dubai, but Bilal’s presence gives Pakistan an additional option.

Bilal is allowed to bowl until the result of his test is known, which is likely to take another couple of weeks, making him available for the second Test starting on October 22.

Meanwhile, Azhar Ali will leave the squad and return home following the death of his mother-in-law. Azhar had missed the first Test after sustaining a toe injury on the Zimbabwe tour.

It is not clear if Azhar will be able to rejoin the squad before the second Test begins.