Pakistan on Monday called up uncapped players Saim Ayub, Aamir Jamal and Khurrum Shehzad for the three-Test series in Australia, starting in December after fast bowler Naseem Shah couldn’t recover from a shoulder surgery for the tour.
Shan Masood will be leading the 18-member squad against Australia with new chief selector, Wahab Riaz also recalling left-arm pacer, Mir Hamza for the tour for which nine players from the World Cup squad have also been retained.
Pakistan plays three Tests before moving on to New Zealand for five T20 internationals but Wahab only named the Test squad on Monday.
While swashbuckling opener, Saim Ayub has played 8 T20 internationals and Aamir Jamal four T20 matches, pace bowler Khurrum Shehzad has been called up for the first time by Pakistani selectors due to his impressive performances in domestic cricket.
Wahab said that Naseem, who was injured during the Asia Cup and later had a shoulder surgery in the UK, would began bowling at 50-60 percent capacity in three weeks time so he was not available for the tour.
Mir Hamza last played a Test against New Zealand in Karachi last January but was then dropped for the Sri Lankan tour.
Former captain, Babar Azam, Muhammad Rizwan, Saud Shakeel, Agha Salman, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali, Imam ul Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Muhammad Wasim junior have been retained from the WC squad.
The selectors have overlooked opener Fakhar Zaman, fast bowler Haris Rauf, leg spinner Usama Mir, allrounders Shadab Khan and Iftikhar Ahmed for the Test tour from the WC squad.
Former captain and keeper, Sarfaraz Ahmed, spinner, Abrar Ahmed, spinner Noman Ali all played in the Test series in Sri Lanka in June-July while allrounder Faheem Ashraf’s last Test appearance was in December 2022 against England.
Wahab added that they had spoken to fast bowler Haris Rauf about the tour and he had initially given his consent to play Tests two days back but last night he called up and made himself unavailable for the tour.
“He has concerns over workload and fitness issues,” he said.
Wahab said the squad had been picked keeping in mind the challenging Australian conditions.
“We have kept the pitches in mind and added more pace bowling resources to the team to ensure that the management can be flexible with the team combinations in all three Test matches,” he said.
“Saim Ayub has been added to the squad after the extraordinary domestic season he has had this year. He has impressed with the bat during the Quaid-e-Azam trophy and Pakistan Cup, pushing the case for his selection. His inclusion will strengthen our solid batting line-up.
“Pakistan has started off the ICC World Test Championship 2023-25 really well, after their success in Sri Lanka earlier this year. We hope that the team can carry this momentum ahead in Australia as well. We have tried to ensure that the team has all relevant resources to find success in Australia.”
The squad will have a training camp in Rawalpindi from November 23 to 28 before they fly out on November 30 from Lahore.
1st Test – Perth, 14-18 December 2023
2nd Test – Melbourne, 26-30 December 2023
3rd Test – Sydney, 3-7 January 2024.
INPUT ( PTI )