With Haris Rauf testing positive for Covid-19 ahead of the first Test against Australia, Pakistan has been given yet another possible setback. For the time being, he has been placed in isolation and is expected to miss the first Test in Rawalpindi, which begins on Friday. Rauf has yet to play a Test for Pakistan, but he was in the race for a spot when Hasan Ali and Faheem Ashraf withdrew due to injuries sustained in the PSL last week.

Pakistan has summoned up Iftikhar Ahmed and Mohammad Wasim Jr to replace them, although they may be forced to look at their reserve players, like Mohammad Abbas and Naseem Shah. Rauf’s ability to pass the first Test will be determined by the results of additional testing. Rauf had cleared a Covid test when he arrived in Islamabad on Monday afternoon, despite testing positive on a Rapid Antigen Test. The whole squad has been re-tested, with results due later this week.

Rauf joined the squad on Monday after helping Lahore Qalandars win the PSL final on Sunday evening. He came alongside Shaheen Shah Afridi, Abdullah Shafique, and Mohammad Rizwan, all of whom competed in the final. Fawad Ahmed, an Australian leg spinner who was a member of the Qalandars squad and is set to act as a spin consultant for Australia, was also on the trip. The injuries to Hasan and Ashraf have already hampered Pakistan’s preparations for a historic Test against Australia, which will be played in Pakistan for the first time since 1998. Normally, Rauf would be competing with Wasim Jr for a position in the starting XI. If Rauf’s re-test is again good, Wasim Jr would most likely start, though Pakistan might call in Naseem from the reserves.