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3 Reasons why Mohammad Hafeez should be in the Test XI

717   //    02 Oct 2018, 00:39 IST

England v Pakistan: 2nd Investec Test - Day Four
Hafeez in his last Test outing for Pakistan

Mohammad Hafeez was recalled to the Pakistan Test squad for their 2-match series vs. the visiting Australians in UAE. The selection comes after Hafeez scored 213 in a first-class match for Sui Northern.

At nearly 38 years old, Hafeez's last-minute inclusion brings up uncertainty in Pakistan's long-term plans in both Tests and limited overs matches. He last played a Test for Pakistan in the 2016 tour of England, where he fared poorly while opening against the likes of James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

Here are three reasons why Hafeez should be in the playing eleven vs. Australia.

1. Experience at the top

With 50 Test matches under his belt, Hafeez would bring some much-needed expertise to a relatively green Pakistan top order. Imam ul-Haq has played only 3 Test matches while Babar Azam has only played 13 matches and is still finding his footing with an average of 28.00. Having Mohammad Hafeez in the top 5 provides flexibility with his position, and should pair well with Test stalwart Azhar Ali.

2. UAE Expertise

While Hafeez's 39.22 Test average isn't spectacular, his numbers in his adopted home of UAE are nothing short of it. In 33 innings, he averages 52.75 at a strike rate of nearly 60 to go along with 3 hundreds and 8 fifties. In his last outing there against England in 2015, Hafeez took Man of the Match honors with an opening 151.

3. Off-spin ability

As an off-spinning all-rounder, Mohammad Hafeez provides Pakistan with an added bowling option. In a bowling attack that relies heavily on attacking leg-spinner Yasir Shah, Hafeez will be able to pitch in with his tight, economic spin bowling. With nearly 2/3 of his Test wickets coming against lefties, Hafeez should look to take the wickets of lefties Travis Head, Matt Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, all of whom can be in the Australia side.