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PREVIEW: Sarfaraz Ahmed set to lead Pakistan for first time

— 27 September 2017

With Pakistan taking on England in the Second Test Match at Headingley from Friday 1st June 2018, we’ll be following them throughout the winter. Tickets go on general sale from 10am on Tuesday 10th October.

Yorkshire’s short-term overseas signing Sarfaraz Ahmed will take charge of Pakistan for the first time in Test cricket tomorrow when a two-match series against Sri Lanka starts in Abu Dhabi.

Sarfaraz made five appearances in the NatWest T20 last month, with his best display coming with 42 on debut against Derbyshire at Headingley.

It has been some year for the wicketkeeper batsman, whose popularity was highlighted when he was greeted by hundreds of Pakistani supporters at Bradford Park Avenue ahead of his White Rose bow.

Tomorrow’s match will cap off a memorable year for the 30-year-old, who captained his country to ICC Champions Trophy success in England in June and then led the T20 side in the recent World XI series when international cricket returned to his homeland.

Having led Pakistan’s white ball teams for the last couple of years, Sarfaraz takes over the Test captaincy from retired Misbah-ul-Haq.

Misbah and another ex-Yorkshire overseas signing Younus Khan both called time on their glittering international careers after a series in the West Indies in May.

It means this series will mark somewhat of a new dawn for Pakistan cricket or, more accurately, Pakistan batting.

The two players who will come into the side as a result of the absence of Misbah and Younus are likely to be Sami Aslam and Haris Sohail.

But a lot falls on the shoulders of former skipper Azhar Ali, who scored a triple century against the West Indies pretty much this time last year, Asad Shafiq and rising star Babar Azam.

Exciting 22-year-old Babar has played nine Tests and, although he has yet to score a hundred, has encouraged with four fifties.

He has, however, shone in one-day cricket with five hundreds and six fifties in 31 appearances, with a top-score of 125 not out.

If he can transfer his white ball form to red, the loss of the greats will not be felt so keenly.

Ali is just 32 runs away from becoming the eighth Pakistan Test batsman to reach 8,000 career runs, including Younus and Inzamam, another former White Rose overseas player.

Sri Lanka, meanwhile, go into the contest with an interim coach in former Hampshire wicketkeeper Nic Pothas, who has replaced Ireland bound Graham Ford.

The second and final Test of the series will be played under lights with a pink ball at Dubai from next Friday.

2018 Yorkshire CCC Full and One-day Members will receive the first priority access to tickets for the 2019 Ashes Test at Emerald Headingley. This is just another great reason to renew your membership now! Remember, you can also purchase 2018 international tickets online now when you renew.

Click here to take up membership.