Pakistan opener Imam-ul-Haq has been sidelined from the second Test against Australia in Abu Dhabi, which begins on October 16, after fracturing his little finger on the left hand. He sustained the injury while diving for the ball in the field on the final day of the first Test in Dubai.
Imam had contributed 76 off 188 balls in a 205-run partnership for the first wicket with Mohammad Hafeez – the fifth-highest opening stand for Pakistan in Test cricket. In Pakistan’s second innings, he was their top scorer, with 48 off 104 balls, helping them swell the lead to 461.
In the absence of Imam, Pakistan might push No.3 Azhar Ali to the top and bring in legspinning allrounder Shadab Khan should he recover from the groin injury he had picked up at the Asia Cup.
As an alternate option, they might bring in Fakhar Zaman to partner Hafeez at the top and keep Azhar at No. 3. Fakhar, though, is uncapped in Test cricket, and hasn’t played a first-class game since October 2017.