Sri Lanka will be playing the first Test of a three-match series against Pakistan in Sheikh Zayed Stadium (Abu Dhabi) tomorrow.
Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed and Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal will attend the trophy unveiling ceremony scheduled today.
Pakistan will step into a new Test era without retired batting greats Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq when they take on Sri Lanka in the first Test in Abu Dhabi from Thursday.
Playing without Younis and Misbah is unaccustomed territory for Pakistan, who haven’t had a Test featuring either of the talismanic, prolific pair in seven years.
It comes as they prepare to welcome the return of full international cricket to their home country next month, when Sri Lanka visit for a Twenty20 game in Lahore.
Together, Younis and Misbah have appeared in 193 Tests, accumulating 15,331 runs, 44 centuries and 15 century stands between them, briefly lifting the team to the top of the Test rankings in August last year.
They have dominated the batting at Pakistan´s venues in United Arab Emirates (UAE), where they have been forced to play home games since a deadly terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009.
The pair made Pakistan so invincible that they have not lost any of the nine series they have played in UAE, with new captain Sarfraz Ahmed admitting it will be tough to replace them.
“Obviously, it´s not easy to fill the void they left as they were the backbone of our batting,” said Sarfraz.
“Their contributions were immense but now we have to move on.”
Younis is not only Pakistan´s highest Test runs scorer, with 10,099, but the slips fielding specialist also holds the national record of 139 catches in 118 Tests.
Misbah´s calm influence as a batsman, as well as skipper, will also be tough to replace.
Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (capt), Azhar Ali, Shan Masood, Sami Aslam, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Usman Salahuddin, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Asghar, Bilal Asif, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Abbas, Wahab Riaz
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (capt), Lahiru Thirimanne (vice-capt), Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kusal Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Rangana Herath, Lakshan Sandakan, Dilruwan Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Vishwa Fernando, Lahiru Gamage
Umpires: Ian Gould (ENG) and Nigel Llong (ENG)
TV umpire: Richard Kettleborough (ENG)
ICC match referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)
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