Image courtesy of: Pakistan Cricket Board
Pakistan chief selector Mohammad Wasim said the door is now open for spinner Zahid Mahmood to secure a spot for himself in the Test team.
Zahid was picked for the tour of South Africa and Zimbabwe following his outstanding domestic performances.
The 32-year-old took 12 wickets in nine matches for Southern Punjab in the National T20 Cup at an average of 24.83.
He was the third-highest wicket-taker in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy with 52 wickets in 10 games at an average of 26.94.
In the Pakistan Cup, Zahid was the second-highest wicket-taker with 19 wickets in 10 matches at an average of 24.89.
Most recently, he played for the Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and claimed six wickets in four games at an average of 21.33.
It should be noted that Zahid featured in one T20 International during Pakistan’s home series against South Africa and was highly impressive as he took figures of 3-40.
Even though he has been in good form, Wasim confirmed that Zahid will have to compete with fellow spinners Nauman Ali and Sajid Khan.
Nauman played in the two Tests against South Africa and took eight wickets, which included a five-for on debut, at an average of 21.50.
“Yasir Shah is suffering from left knee injury and requires another six weeks to fully recover. His absence has opened a door for Zahid Mahmood, who will have a stronger case in the Test squad as compared to the T20I side following the return of Shadab Khan and presence of Usman Qadir,” Wasim was quoted as saying in a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) press release.
“For a place in the Test side, Zahid will compete with Nauman Ali and Sajid Khan, who, like Zahid, were the two outstanding bowlers in the first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.”
Pakistan will play three ODIs and four T20 Internationals against South Africa before heading to Zimbabwe for two Tests and three T20 Internationals.
Pakistan will depart for South Africa on March 26 and the tour will commence on April 2 and conclude on April 16. The ODI series will be played first.
The men in green will then head to Zimbabwe on April 17, but the dates for the matches have yet to be confirmed.
However, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) noted that the national team will travel back to Lahore from Bulawayo on May 12.
Pakistan’s Test Squad: Babar Azam (capt), Imran Butt, Abid Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Saud Shakeel, Agha Salman, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Tabish Khan, Hasan Ali, Shahnawaz Dhani, Nauman Ali, Zahid Mahmood, Sajid Khan.