Pakistan, on Wednesday, announced its Test squad for the “historic” home series against Australia – which will be played in Rawalpindi, Karachi and Lahore from next month – with three players returning to the longest format of the game.
“The Pakistan cricket selectors today [Wednesday] announced 16 players and five reserves for the three Tests against Australia, which will be played in Rawalpindi (4-8 March), Karachi (12-16 March) and Lahore (21-25 March),” the Pakistan Cricket Board said in a statement.
It read that from the series against Bangladesh, three changes have been made in the national squad.
“Haris Rauf, who was in the side for South Africa and Zimbabwe Tests in 2021, has returned to replace off-spinner Bilal Asif, while Shan Masood, who last played in New Zealand in the 2020-21 season, has taken over from Abid Ali, who is completing his rehabilitation after being diagnosed with Acute Coronary Syndrome. Yasir Shah has been added to the reserve pool,” it read.
The official handout read those test players, who are not involved in the HBL Pakistan Super League 2022, will assemble in Karachi on February 16 for a training camp that will be held at the National Stadium.
Test squad: Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan (vice-captain), Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imamul Haq, Mohammad Nawaz, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Zahid Mahmood.
Moreover, Kamran Ghulam, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Sarfaraz Ahmed, and Yasir Shah are serving as reserve players.
Chief selector Muhammad Wasim said selectors have opted for consistency for the home series against Australia and changes have only been made where it was “absolutely” necessary. “This is to give boys confidence, reward them for their impressive performances in the longer version of the game in 2021 and continue to build the side for the future,” he added.
He said the squad they announced consisted of the “best available, most talented and in-form players” from the domestic circuit. Wasim expressed his confidence that the players would put up an “impressive performance” against a formidable Australian side.
Meanwhile, the PCB has confirmed Saqlain Mushtaq will continue as head coach for another 12 months, while it also announced the appointments of Shaun Tait as fast bowling coach for 12 months and Mohammad Yousuf as batting coach for the Australia series.