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From MisYou to AzAs

If Pakistan’s last Test in Roseau, Dominica marked the end of MisYou era, the Abu Dhabi Test is going to annotate the dawn of AzAs age. It will be the first time Azhar Ali will take the field not as the most experienced batsman in the side but also the most experienced player overall with 60 Test caps next to his name. Asad Shafiq will be the next most experienced player with 56 Tests to his name.

  • No player with 60+ Tests, for the first time since 2011 vs West Indies
  • Pakistan squad slips from 16th to 287th most experienced side ever
  • The most inexperienced eleven since 2011, vs Sri Lanka at Dubai
  • Pakistan’s batting lineup slips from most experienced ever to 255th
  • First-ever Test without Misbah and Younis in 7 years, after 58 Tests
  • Only Azhar, Amir, Sarfaraz played a Test without Misbah and Younis
  • Azhar to appear as Senior Most Player for the first time ever
  • The expected top-7 batting order to go in with 181 Tests in Total
  • 83% - 151 out of those 181 Tests played by Azhar, Asad and Sarfaraz
  • 3 others will go in with 30 Tests in between them
  • 1 guaranteed debutant in top 7

In terms of experience in the camp, the absence of Misbah and Younis in the dressing room is bound to have its effect. Pakistan is expected to leave out Wahab Riaz, Bilal Asif, Haris Sohail and Mohammad Asghar from the playing eleven that will leave Pakistan squad fairly light on experience.

# Player Tests
1 Sami Aslam 11
2 Shan Masood 10
3 Azhar Ali 60
4 Asad Shafiq 56
5 Babar Azam 9
6 Usman Salahuddin 0
7 Sarfaraz Ahmed 36
8 Muhammad Amir 28
9 Hassan Ali 1
10 Yasir Shah 26
11 Mohamma Abbas 3

If this set of eleven players is compared with all the previous elevens of Pakistan in Tests, it brings out some interesting observations.

The team that took the field in the first Test of Pakistan’s last Test Series at Kingston, Jamaica was the 16th most experienced side of Pakistan. Before the toss, the combined number of Tests of those eleven players was 420 [Younis Khan(115), Misbah-ul-Haq(73), Mohammad Amir(25), Azhar Ali(57), Asad Shafiq(53), Sarfraz Ahmed(33), Wahab Riaz(24), Ahmed Shehzad(11), Yasir Shah(23), Babar Azam(6), M Abbas(0)], the highest since 2007 when Pakistan side led by Inzimam ul Haq took the field against South Africa at Cape Town with 426 Test caps between them [Inzamam-ul-Haq(118), Shahid Nazir(14), Mohammad Yousuf(74), Danish Kaneria(45), Younis Khan(52), Mohammad Sami(29), Imran Farhat(26), Kamran Akmal(32), Yasir Hameed(19), Mohammad Hafeez(9), Mohammad Asif(8)]

The departure of Younis and Misbah is going to bring down that combined total number of Test caps to 240 that will be 287th combination of eleven players that Pakistan has fielded in 410 Tests. That will be the most inexperienced side of Pakistan in 6 years, since Pakistan took on Sri Lanka at Dubai in October 2011 [Younis Khan(69), Taufeeq Umar(33), Misbah-ul-Haq(27), Umar Gul(36), Mohammad Hafeez(19), Abdur Rehman(8), Saeed Ajmal(13), Adnan Akmal(6), Azhar Ali(14), Asad Shafiq(6), Junaid Khan(2)]
It will be the first time in 6 years when Pakistan will field a Test side with no players with the experience of 60 or more Tests. The last time it happened was back in May 2011 when Pakistan played against the West Indies at Basseterre [Taufeeq Umar(30), Misbah-ul-Haq(24), Mohammad Hafeez(16), Abdur Rehman(7), Umar Akmal(14), Saeed Ajmal(10), Tanvir Ahmed(3), Azhar Ali(11), Asad Shafiq(4), Wahab Riaz(6), Mohammad Salman(1)]

There will be no Younis Khan nor Misbah ul Haq. It will be the first instance in 7 years that neither Misbah nor Younis will be part of Pakistan’s Test side. The last time it happened was back in 2010 at Lord’s during that infamous Test against England. That was 58 Tests ago.

The only players who have played any Test without either Misbah or Younis in Pakistan dressing room are Azhar Ali, Mohammad Amir and Sarfaraz Ahmed. None of the other members of this squad has ever been to a Pakistan Test dressing room without Misbah or Younis

Batting department is the one that is going to be effected the most by the absence of Misbah and Younis. In terms of experience in the batting line up:
  •  The team that played for Pakistan in the last Test against WI had the most experienced top-7 batting order of Pakistan's history.
  • Those 7 had played 358 Tests among them where they batted in top-7 batting order (excluding matches where one of those didn't bat in either innings of a Test)                       
  • The next Test that Pakistan is going to play tomorrow, this aggregate is going to come down to 181 which will be 255th most experienced top-7 lineup of Pakistan in 410 Tests played.                       
  • 151 out of those 181 (83%) are played by Azhar, Asad and Sarfaraz.
  • 3 others will go in with 30 Tests between them with 1 guaranteed debutant in top 7

The void left by the departure of Misbah and Younis is quite a big one and it will take its due time to be filled. But this is not something new either for global or Pakistan Cricket. It has happened in the past and when it happens, it provides an opportunity to players next in line to lay their claim on the turf of greatness. Performing in the wings of a senior is a one thing and shining own seniority with the oil of performance is another. Misbah and Younis finished with the fairy tale of MisYou and there was no coincidence there; they worked for it. It’s time for the next in line to work on and leave the scene with an AzAs tale. 

TV, Radio and Web Shows

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