The Pakistan Cricket Board have issued list of 29 Cricketers who are to travel to England to play a 3 Test match series and a 3 match T20 series.
Misbah Ul Haq, chief selector and head coach of the Pakistan Cricket team, told the press, “The selectors have picked a squad which gives us the best chance of success in England. It was a challenging process as the players have not played for an extended period of time, but nevertheless, with the month that we will have in England and the intense training we will undergo, we are confident we will get the players up to the mark to be ready for the three Tests. But the main focus of the selectors has been red-ball cricket, which we will play for nearly two months with the T20Is to be played at the backend of the ICC World Test Championship fixtures.”
He further added, “The series against England will be challenging as our players have not played any competitive cricket since March, while the home team will come following a series against the West Indies. This means we will have to hit the ground running as soon as we land in England and make the best use of the training sessions and match practice before we enter the first Test. The players have also been selected with one eye on the future. I want these players to acquire as much cricket knowledge as possible from the additional backroom staff of Mushtaq Ahmed and Younis Khan that can help them post the England tour.”
Among new names, 19 year old right handed opening batsman Haider Ali, who had a stellar U19 World Cup earlier this year in South Africa, has been named in the squad. Haider scored 317 runs in the 7 match ODI series against South Africa U19 last year, followed by the feat of being fifth leading run-getter with 218 runs in the ACC Emerging Teams Cup in Bangladesh. He then had a stellar Quaid-e-Azam trophy with the Northern Cricket team, finishing with 645 runs, averaging just under 50, including a hundred in the final, at just under 50. He finished as Pakistan’s third-best batsman with 107 runs in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020 before contributing 239 runs in nine matches at a strike rate of over 158 for Peshawar Zalmi in the unfinished HBL Pakistan Super League 2020.
Other than Haider, Kashif Bhatti, who plays for Sindh in Pakistan’s domestic circuit, is the other uncapped player in the side. Bhatti was in the Test squad against Australia and Sri Lanka but did not play and was also named in the probables for the Rawalpindi Test against Bangladesh.
Sohail Khan, Pakistan fast bowler has made a return to the side. Sohail took 22 wickets in 9 Quaid-e-Azam trophy matches, and then proceeded to take seven wickets in eight HBL PSL 2020 matches for Quetta Gladiators.
Other than Haider, Bhatti, Sohail and the centrally contracted players, excluding Haris Sohail, the selectors have named Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Rauf, Imran Khan, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Shoaib Malik and Wahab Riaz.
The selectors have also named four reserves in Bilal Asif, Imran Butt, Musa Khan and Mohammad Nawaz as a cover in case any of the players fail the COVID-19 tests before the tour, which will be carried out on 20 and 25 June.
Fast bowlers Hasan Ali and Mohammad Amir, and middle-order batsman Haris were not available for selection. Hasan is suffering from a back injury, Amir withdrew so that he can be at the birth of his second child in August while Haris took the option of pulling out of the tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here is the entire list of players to go on tour to England:
Azhar Ali (Test captain)
Babar Azam (Test vice captain & T20 captain)
Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper)
Sarfaraz Ahmed (wicketkeeper)
Shaheen Shah Afridi
Kashif Bhatti .