5 possible replacements for Younis-Misbah in Pakistan's Test team

Asif Zakir
S Sam

Younis Khan is arguably Pakistan's greatest ever batsman and in partnership with former captain Misbah-ul-Haq, made the Pakistani middle order a formidable challenge for most bowling attack after the world.

However, after the duo's retirement, the Pakistan team management are facing the unenviable task of replacing around a duo who scored 15000 runs between themselves and the task might not be easy.

That said, there are a handful of batsmen who could eventually fill the void left behind by two of the Pakistani stalwarts in the coming years. Here is a look at 5 of them, in no particular order.

5 Asif Zakir

The Karachi-born batsman has been a consistent performer in the Pakistani domestic circuit for quite a few years and although he has not been able to get a Test call-up yet, he must be in the scheme of things as far as the future plans of the Test team are concerned.

The right-handed batsman is primarily a stroke player and over the years, he has shown the ability to score heavily in recent years as well.

A solid batsman who is at home against both pace and spin, Zakir shot to the limelight in the domestic circuit after emerging as the highest run scorer in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2015-16.

He scored 791 runs in total in Pakistan's premier domestic tournament, earning a call-up to Pakistan's one-day international side but did not get any games. Zakir might be 34 years old but it must be remembered that Misbah-ul-Haq was a late bloomer as well.

2 Haris Sohail

England v Pakistan - ICC CWC Warm Up Match

A graceful left-handed batsman, Haris Sohail made his debut for Pakistan in one-day internationals in 2013 and has played 22 games for the national side so far. However, this year, he made his debut in Test cricket in the 1st game of the series against Sri Lanka in the middle east and showed glimpses of the immense talent that he possesses as a batsman.

Fast bowling does not faze him and he is an intelligent player of spin too, top-scoring for Pakistan in both innings of the Test match.

Sohail scored a fluent 76 in the first innings and in the second innings, he made 34 while wickets kept falling around him during Pakistan's doomed chase of 136 for victory.

He is 28, and at the peak of his prowess as a batsman, which is why there is hope that he has the talent to graduate into one of their middle order mainstays.

3 Imam-ul-Haq

England U19 v Pakistan U19 - Under 19 One Day International Tri-series

When you are legendary Pakistan batsman Inzamam ul Haq's nephew, there are going to be great expectations and naturally, youngster Imam up Haq's selection in the one-day international team is an indication that he is perhaps ready for the big time.

The 21-year-old left-handed opening batsman has been monitored by the Pakistani selectors for a few years now and announced himself in list A cricket with a century in his very first game back in 2015.

In a funny coincidence, he played in the game after Misbah-ul-Haq was unavailable to play. In 24 List A (one dayers) games, Imam has scored at an average of 36.08 and has a strike rate of 74.14.

Now that he has his call-up to the national side, he will want to impress in the ODI side and then graduate into the Test side.

Imam has age and talent in his favour and it would not be unfair to hope that he might be Pakistan cricket's next big thing.

2 Umar Amin

India v Pakistan: Group A - ICC Champions Trophy

Ever since Umar Amin emerged in Pakistan's first class scene around a decade ago, he has been regarded as a prospect who could well turn out to be one of the country's greatest and his efficiency as a technician has often hailed as one of the reasons he can become what he has promised to be for all these years.

Having first debuted in Tests in 2010 for Pakistan, Amin has played only 4 Tests so far and his inability to score big any of them might have been detrimental to his prospects.

However, with the retirement of two of Pakistan's greatest batsmen, positions in the middle order must be up for grabs and if he continues to do well in the domestic circuit, there is no reason why he should not be in the running for one of the spots at least.

Amin used to be talked of in the same breath as Younis Khan in his youth, and perhaps it is about time he fulfilled that promise.

1 Mohammad Rizwan

Australia v Pakistan - ODI Game 1
Mohammad Rizwan

25-year-old Mohammad Rizwan may have played only a solitary Test and got out for a golden duck then, at Hamilton against New Zealand last year, but his gifts as an excellent batsman are not in doubt.

The right-handed batsman has a compact technique and can play both off the front and the backfoot of fast bowlers, which makes him an excellent candidate for Pakistan's middle order. Provided, he gets a call-up to the Test side, he needs to come good and cement his place, since there will be intense competition for places.

He has played 25 ODIs for Pakistan in his career and announced himself on the international stage by making a 58 ball 67 against Bangladesh two years ago. Rizwan is bound to get another chance in the Test side at some point and considering the talent that he possesses, he could well be an heir to either Younis or Misbah.

Edited by Anuradha Santhanam


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