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Pakistan's Tour Of Australia 2023-24: Mohammad Nawaz Replaces Injured Noman Ali Ahead Of Boxing Day Test

The Pakistan Cricket Board has confirmed injured Noman Ali's replacement for Pakistan's Tour of Australia 2023-24. Mohammad Nawaz will join the squad in place of the left-arm spinner ahead of the second Test between the pair

Mohammad Nawaz will replace Noman Ali for Pakistan's second Test with Australia
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Pakistan have named Mohammad Nawaz as Noman Ali's replacement ahead of the second Test against Australia in Melbourne. Noman, a left-arm spinner, was earlier ruled out of the tour due to acute appendicitis. (Cricket News)

A statement from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said that Noman underwent a successful laparoscopic appendectomy, and the 37-year-old from Khipro is recovering well. Noman didn't feature in Pakistan's 360-run defeat in Perth.

Nawaz, also a left-armer, last played a Test match in December 2022 against England. The 29-year-old from Rawalpindi, according to the PCB, will now travel Down Under "on the first available flight". But it's unclear if he will play in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

For the record, Nawaz was already named in Pakistan's 17-member squad for the New Zealand tour next month, featuring five T20 Internationals starting January 12. The series holds special importance considering the the ICC T20 World Cup is only months away.

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Pakistan, however, will focus on the task at hand -- avoiding yet another Test series defeat in Australia. Playing under a new captain, Shan Masood, they were outplayed in almost every session of the Perth Test which lasted little more than four days.

A defeat in Melbourne will give the Aussies an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. The last time Pakistan won a Test match in Australia was way back in 1995. They have since lost 14 matches in a row, across five tours. The ongoing series is a part of the ICC World Test Championship 2023-2025 cycle.

But beating Pat Cummins & Co., the defending ICC World Test champions, in their backyard will be a massive challenge for an embattled, injury-ravaged Pakistan side. Earlier in the week, they lost pacer Khurram Shahzad, who made an impressive Test debut in Perth, to a stress fracture and muscle tear.

And now the absence of Noman will add to Pakistan's bowling woes especially after Abrar Ahmed, the first-choice spinner of the team, is already sidelined due to injury. Interestingly, Sajid Khan was flown in as a replacement. But the off-spinner arrived in Perth a little late and Pakistan fielded a four-prong pace attack with Agha Salman contributing with his part-time spin, and without success.

The MCG presents yet another Test for Pakistan, and spin may play a role there. Nawaz will relish his chance.

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