Pakistan on Monday called up uncapped players Saim Ayub, Aamir Jamal and Khurrum Shehzad for the three-Test series in Australia, which started in December after fast bowler Naseem Shah failed to recover from shoulder surgery for the tour. Shan Masood will lead the 18-man squad against Australia with new chief selector Wahab Riaz also recalling left-arm pacer Mir Hamza for the tour for which nine players from the World Cup squad have also been retained. Pakistan will play three Tests before moving on to New Zealand for five T20 internationals, but Wahab only named the Test squad on Monday. During his swashbuckling opener, Saim Ayub has played eight T20 internationals and Aamir Jamal has played four T20 matches. Pace bowler Khurrum Shehzad has been called up by Pakistan selectors for the first time following his impressive performances in domestic cricket.
Wahab said Naseem, who was injured during the Asia Cup and later underwent shoulder surgery in Britain, would start bowling at 50-60 percent capacity in three weeks, making him unavailable for the tour.
Mir Hamza last played a Test against New Zealand in Karachi last January but was then dropped from the Sri Lankan tour.
Former captain Babar Azam, Muhammad Rizwan, Saud Shakeel, Agha Salman, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali, Imam ul Haq, Abdullah Shafique and Muhammad Wasim junior have been retained from the World Cup squad.
The selectors have overlooked opener Fakhar Zaman, fast bowler Haris Rauf, leg-spinner Usama Mir, all-rounders Shadab Khan and Iftikhar Ahmed for the World Cup squad’s Test tour.
Former captain and keeper Sarfaraz Ahmed, spinner Abrar Ahmed and spinner Noman Ali all played in the Test series in Sri Lanka in June-July, while all-rounder Faheem Ashraf’s last Test appearance was in December 2022 against England.
Wahab added that they had spoken to fast bowler Haris Rauf about the tour and he had initially given permission to play Tests two days ago, but last night he called and made himself unavailable for the tour.
“He is concerned about the workload and fitness issues,” he said.
Wahab said the squad was selected taking into account the challenging Australian conditions.
“We have kept the pitches in mind and added more pace bowling resources to the team to ensure that the management can be flexible with the team combinations in all three Test matches,” he said.
“Saim Ayub has been added to the squad after the extraordinary domestic season he has had this year. He has impressed with the bat during the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and the Pakistan Cup, which makes a case for his selection. His inclusion will strengthen our position solid batting line-up.
“Pakistan have started the 2023-2025 ICC World Test Championship very well, following their success in Sri Lanka earlier this year. We hope the team can continue this momentum in Australia as well. We have tried to ensure that the team has all the relevant resources to find success in Australia.” The squad will have a training camp in Rawalpindi from November 23 to 28 before departing from Lahore on November 30.
1st Test – Perth, December 14-18, 2023 2nd Test – Melbourne, December 26-30, 2023 3rd Test – Sydney, January 3-7, 2024.
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