Pakistan have made the call to rest ace paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi and drop opening batter Imam-ul-Haq for the third Test against Australia at the SCG.
With the series lost and little to play for other than World Test Championship points, Pakistan opted to leave out their inspirational leader of the attack in Afridi.
That allows them to bring in spinner Sajid Khan in his place on a wicket they expect to turn.
First-choice off-breaker Abrar Ahmed is still unavailable while nursing a leg injury, prompting Sajid’s selection.
Pakistan will otherwise retain pace trio Hasan Ali, Aamir Jamal and Mir Hamza from their loss at the MCG last week.
Captain Shan Masood had earlier said the tourists were keen to play two spinners in Sydney.
“We think that it might turn in Sydney. So we want to give ourselves the best possible opportunity to have the best players on the field,” Masood said.
The decision has been quickly criticised, with well-known commentator and former player Bazid Khan questioning the logic of resting Shaheen from Test cricket and prioritising T20s.
“PCB were so disappointed when Haris Rauf refused to play Tests because he wanted to play [sic] T20s instead. Now PCB themselves rest their premier fast bowler so that he can play T20Is (shrugging emoji),” Bazid wrote.
Pakistan relied on spinning allrounder Agha Salman for the first two Tests, with Abrar out and Sajid not picked.
He took only one wicket from 51 overs and went for 160 runs in the losses in Perth and Melbourne, but will have the assistance of Sajid at the SCG from Wednesday.
The call to axe Imam comes after the opener made scores of 62, 10, 10 and 12 on the tour so far.
In his place 21-year-old Saim Ayub will debut.