Pakistan have dropped Mohammad Abbas, Shan Masood and Haris Sohail from the Test squad for the upcoming home series against South Africa. The 20-man Test squad features as many as nine uncapped players. Pakistan suffered a drubbing at the hands of New Zealand in the recently concluded Test series, where the hosts beat the visiting Pakistan team 2-0 in the two-match series.
Babar Azam will lead his national side, taking over the captaincy from Mohammad Rizwan after a thumb injury put him out of contention for the New Zealand series. The 26 year old pacer, Hasan Ali returns to the squad who enjoyed a top notch first class season, finishing with 43 wickets at an average of just above 20.
Leg spinner, Shadab Khan remains on the sidelines with an injury, whereas the young pacer, Naseem Shah’s hamstring struggles rule him out. Haris Rauf has been called up to the squad alongside Imran Butt, Kamran Ghulam and Salman Ali Agha.
“Haris Sohail, Mohammad Abbas and Shan Masood have been dropped due to inconsistent performances. However, the PCB will not let its investment on these talented players go to waste and will invite them to the High Performance Centre so that they can work out their technical flaws and get back into contention,” said chief selector Mohammad Wasim.
“Shan’s bad form has opened doors for Abid Ali’s new partner, be it either Abdullah Shafique or Imran Butt, who was last season’s top scorer. Together with Abdullah, he was in New Zealand with the Shaheens side. Kamran Ghulam (1,249 runs), Saud Shakeel (970 runs) and Salman Ali Agha (941 runs) walk into the middle-order to support Azhar Ali, Babar Azam and Fawad Alam. This is a formidable and highly skilled middle-order, which will encourage a further healthy competition for a permanent place in the side.”
The first match will be played at the National Stadium in Karachi from January 26. The second Test will be played at Rawalpindi which will be followed by a three-match T20I series.
Squad: Abid Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Imran Butt, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam (c), Fawad Alam, Kamran Ghulam, Salman Ali Agha, Saud Shakeel, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Yasir Shah, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Tabish Khan