Karachi: Pakistan has called up uncapped left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar as a back-up for injured leg spinner Yasir Shah for the three-Test series against England which begins tomorrow.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said today that Gohar, who featured in the two side games against England at Sharjah, would be a temporary replacement.
"Yasir Shah has not yet been ruled out of the first Test match and a final decision on fielding or not shall be taken before the match commences on Tuesday," the PCB statement said.
Shah, who has been Pakistan's prime wicket-taker in their last three Test series against Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka, suffered a back problem today while bowling in the nets.
Chief selector Haroon Rasheed said that Gohar was announced as a replacement on the request of team manager Intikhab Alam.
"After having discussed the matter with my fellow selectors it has been decided that Zafar Gohar is the logical choice to be sent over to fill the gap for a temporary period," he said.
Shah, who has taken 61 wickets in 10 Tests, is seen as Pakistan's prime threat to England in the series and if he doesn't play in the first match it will be a huge setback for the Pakistan team.
The green shirts have already lost their reliable number three batter Azhar Ali due to a toe infection.
Haroon said Gohar was a capable all-rounder who had bowled well against England in the side matches.
"If there is a need the tour selection committee can play him and they already have another left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar in the squad."
Due to the injury to Azhar, senior all-rounder Shoaib Malik, who was recalled to the Test squad after five years, is expected to get a place in the final playing XI due to his ability to bowl off break.
The last time the two teams met in the UAE in a Test series in 2012, Pakistan thrashed England 3-0.