Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Opening batsman Fakhar Zaman is one of five players that received their maiden call-up to Pakistan’s Test squad for the upcoming tours of Ireland and England.
Zaman has established himself as a regular member in the limited overs squads and will be joined in the Test side by Imam-ul-Haq, Usman Salahuddin, Saad Ali and Faheem Ashraf.
Like Zaman, Imam, Salahuddin and Ashraf have all played limited overs cricket, but Saad has yet to make his international debut.
Meanwhile, there was no place in the side for left-arm seamer Wahab Riaz, who was heavily criticised by head coach Mickey Arthur.
Riaz was not among the list of probables that attended a training camp prior to the squad selection. Arthur said that Riaz “has not won us a game in two years” and also went on to slam him for his work ethic when it came to training.
All-rounder Fawad Alam failed to make the cut yet again, even though he has been performing consistently for the last few seasons.
Alam’s average for the past four seasons of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy has been 40.71, 55.54, 56 and 71.90.
Batsman Shan Masood was also overlooked as he is currently recovering from a knee injury.
Spinner Yasir Shah was also ruled out of the tours with a hip bone stress fracture. As a result, Shadab Khan, who has played one Test to date, will assume the role of Pakistan’s frontline spinner.
“Yasir’s absence is a big loss for us,” chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “If we look at his numbers for the last two years, he has more wickets than any other bowler for Pakistan. He was our strike bowler, all the games we’ve won he played a big part in. I hope he recovers quickly from his injury because we have some big home Test series coming up after this series too, and we will need him in the UAE.
“We’ve kept two things in focus when deciding on the final touring squad for England. One, we’ve tried to strengthen our batting line-up. Secondly, we’ve borne in mind that the World Cup next year is in England. So we’ve decided to call up several young players to give them exposure to those conditions. This is a great opportunity for us, particularly our batsmen to gain experience in this conditions.”
Pakistan’s Test match against Ireland, which will get underway on May 11 in Dublin, will be a historic fixture as it will be the latter’s first-ever Test match.
As for their tour of England, it will consist of two Tests, with the first beginning on May 24 at Lord’s. The second Test will be held at Headingley in Leeds on June 1.
Pakistan’s Test Squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (capt &wk), Azhar Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Sami Aslam, Haris Sohail, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Saad Ali, Asad Shafiq, Usman Salahuddin, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Abbas, Hasan Ali, Rahat Ali, Faheem Ashraf