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Pakistan Recalled Mohammad Abbas And Naseem Shah For Tests And Names Azam Khan In T20Is

Pakistan has recalled pacers – Mohammad Abbas and Naseem Shah – for the Test series against the West Indies. Meanwhile, Azam Khan, who is an uncapped hard-hitting batsman from Quetta Gladiators participating in PSL, has been picked in the T20I set-up that will play against England and the West Indies. The T20I squad also includes veteran all-rounder Imad Wasim.

Mohammad Abbas and Naseem Shah were dropped from the Test squad after the Test series in New Zealand, with the duo averaging 45 and 73 respectively.

Azam Khan, the uncapped hard-hitting batsman from Quetta Gladiators, has been picked in the T20I squad.
Azam Khan, the uncapped hard-hitting batsman from Quetta Gladiators, has been picked in the T20I squad. © Getty

Pakistan Has Recalled Mohammad Abbas And Naseem Shah And Picked Hard-Hitting Batsman Azam Khan

However, Pakistan pacer Mohammad Abbas had a successful time in the West Indies in 2017 picking up 15 wickets. He has also bagged 27 wickets in the County Championship in England this season.

“We have remained consistent in our selection and kept the same core of cricketers who have been in the set-up for a while. This is an extremely important and critical tour for Pakistan as we will be playing the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League ODIs against England as well as the T20Is against England and the West Indies as part of our preparations for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. The Jamaica Test will count towards the ICC World Test Championship,” Muhammad Wasim, chief selector, said.

“As such, keeping in view the above and in consultation with captain Babar Azam and head coach Misbah-ul-Haq, we have tried our best to maintain the winning combinations but at the same time recalled four experienced players and rewarded uncapped Azam Khan for his domestic performance, while also giving him the required confidence for the future challenges,” he added.

Leg-spinner Yasir Shah, who missed the Test series versus Zimbabwe because of a knee injury, also returns to the Test set-up. Yasir Shah’s inclusion though is subject to him recovering completely from the knee injury.

“Mohammad Abbas has regained his form, Naseem Shah and Haris Sohail have reclaimed the required fitness standards, while Imad Wasim has been recalled considering the T20 World Cup is likely to be held in the UAE and he enjoys an excellent record there. The return of these four players meant we had to leave some players, which is never an easy decision. But we have collectively opted for what was in the best interest of the side, taking into consideration the opponents and the requirement of the formats on the upcoming tours,” Wasim noted.

“Yasir Shah’s inclusion is subject to clearing his fitness test. He was sidelined due to a knee injury after the second Test against South Africa earlier this year and was expected to reclaim complete fitness for the West Indies tour. It, however, has not been the case, but we remain hopeful that he will complete his rehabilitation before the departure,” he added.

Naseem Shah and Mohammad Abbas have returned to Pakistan's Test squad Getty Images
Naseem Shah and Mohammad Abbas have returned to Pakistan’s Test squad Getty Images

Nauman Ali, a left-arm spinner, who has made a successful start to his Test career, retains his place in the Test set-up. Leg-spinner Zahid Mahmood and off-spinner Sajid Khan have also been retained for the two Tests to be played in Jamaica.

On the other hand, Azam Khan, who scored at a strike rate of over 144 for Gladiators, makes it to the T20I squad. Azam Khan has notched up 743 runs at an impressive strike rate of 157.41 in his T20 career so far. Imad Wasim, who hasn’t played a T20I since December last year, has also been selected.

Pakistan Has Included Saud Shakeel In ODI And Test Squad

Pakistan is also set to play three ODIs against England in July. For that series, Pakistan’s selectors have included uncapped batsman Saud Shakeel. Saud Shakeel, who is a prolific run-getter in Pakistan’s domestic cricket, missed out on the twin tours of South Africa and Zimbabwe due to a Grade-1 quadriceps tear. Incidentally, he also makes it into the Test squad.

Haris Sohail. — Photo courtesy of Haris Sohail's Twitter handle
Haris Sohail. — Photo courtesy of Haris Sohail’s Twitter handle

The experienced batsman, Haris Sohail, also finds a place in the ODI squad. Meanwhile, Tabish Khan and Salman Ali Agha have been dropped from the 21-man squad, though Salman Ali Agha is part of the ODI squad for England.

“The side since the home series against South Africa has maintained an upward movement, but still there are a few loose ends that we would like to close by the end of the England and West Indies tours so that there is absolute clarity on our compositions for the post-West Indies tour engagements. I strongly believe the changes will plug those gaps and will put us in a strong position in our endeavors to feature in the top three across all formats by the end of 2023.”

Pakistan will play three ODIs and three T20Is in England from 8-20 July, before taking on West Indies in five T20Is that will be followed by two Tests.


ODIs: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Abdullah Shafique, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wicketkeeper), Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi, and Usman Qadir

T20Is: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan, Arshad Iqbal, Azam Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sharjeel Khan, and Usman Qadir.

Tests: Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan, Abdullah Shafique, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imran Butt, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Yasir Shah (subject to fitness) and Zahid Mahmood.

Wasim Akram. (Photo: Twitter/ @shoaib100mph)
Wasim Akram. (Photo: Twitter/ @shoaib100mph)

Mohammad Amir Should Be In Pakistan’s T20I Squad For 2021 World Cup: Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram said that Pakistan needs a bowler of Mohammad Amir’s calibre to guide the young generation. Former Pakistan fast bowler Wasim Akram reckons that Mohammad Amir should be included in the national squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup slated later this year.

Back in December 2020, Mohammad Amir announced his retirement from international cricket at the age of 29, and the same created a lot of ruckus in the Pakistan cricket fraternity.

Wasim Akram and Mohammad Amir
Wasim Akram and Mohammad Amir. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Wasim Akram Surprised At Experienced Mohammad Amir’s Retirement And Thinks He Should Be In Pakistan’s World T20 Squad

Later he withdrew his retirement, but lashed out, saying that until and unless the current team management is present, he won’t be making a comeback. In the meantime, Wasim Akram who is Pakistan’s all-time highest wicket-taker, criticized the national team management for keeping Mohammad Amir on the sidelines regarding selection in the Pakistan team.

“I am very surprised because Amir is a very experienced bowler and one of the best in the world in T20 cricket. Personally, I think he should be in Pakistan’s World T20 squad,” Akram told a TV channel, reported by Firstpost.

Mohammad Amir Photograph: K.M. Chaudary/AP
Mohammad Amir Photograph: K.M. Chaudary/AP

Wasim Akram, also a former Pakistan skipper, was clear cut in saying that pacer Mohammad Amir’s decision to retire from Test cricket was personal and no offence should be taken from the same.

“Other players have done it but no one says anything about them. So why Amir? I think if he is available for other formats he should be playing for Pakistan.”

On 26 July 2019, Mohammad Amir announced his retirement from Test cricket in order to focus on limited-overs cricket. On 17 December 2020, he announced his retirement from international cricket. Mohammad Amir played 36 Tests, 61 ODIs and 50 T20Is before announcing retirement. He claimed 259 wickets across formats.

Mohammad Amir has not played for Pakistan since last year when he had a fall out with the Pakistan team head coach, Misbah-ul-Haq and bowling coach, Waqar Younis and has maintained that he will not play for the national team until they remain in charge.

Wasim Akram Feels Experienced Bowlers Like Mohammad Amir Is Needed In T20I World Cup To Advise And Guide Youngsters

Mohammad Amir is a part of the Karachi Kings in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) where Wasim Akram is the director of cricket and the head coach of the team. Wasim Akram said that Pakistan needs a bowler of Mohammad Amir’s calibre to guide the young generation.

“In World Cup events you need experienced bowlers who can also advise and guide the younger bowlers,” Akram feels.

Naseem Shah of Pakistan celebrates after taking his first test wicket, the wicket of David Warner
Naseem Shah of Pakistan celebrates after taking his first test wicket, the wicket of David Warner (Photo by Chris Hyde – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

Wasim Akram said that too much fuss is being created over Mohammad Amir’s personal calls.

Speaking on the same, the veteran said, “Other players also take time off for the birth of their child so what is the big deal.”

With the situation in India deteriorating due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a chance for the T20 World Cup to be shifted to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). As per Wasim Akram, Pakistan could have the edge if the mega event takes place in the gulf country.

“We need to have more impact players in the T20 squad, those who can play without fear of failure only then can we do well,” Akram added.

Pakistan defeated South Africa in Tests and T20Is at home earlier this year and then won the T20I and ODI series in the return series before wrapping up the African safari with T20I and Test series wins in Harare. Pakistan has pacers like Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali, Naseem Shah, Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Abbas in their ranks.

Mohammad Abbas, Varun Aaron, English County, Liecestershire, Sohail Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Sussex, Chesteshwar Pujara, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Virat Kohli,
Mohammad Abbas. Credits: PCB

Mohammad Abbas Reveals His Strategy Against Ben Stokes

Pakistan’s pack leader Mohammad Abbas has been a consistent performer for the team in the Test fold. Abbas is known to be right on the money with his line and length and he also hits the right areas to continuously breathe down the neck of the opposition batsman. Meanwhile, England’s talisman all-rounder Ben Stokes has been in the form of his life.

Stokes scored 363 runs in the three-match series against the West Indies and he was always going to be a big wicket for Pakistan. However, the southpaw batsman could not get going in the first Test against Pakistan at Old Trafford. Stokes has often shimmied down the track to disturb the line and length of the fast bowlers in the recent past.

Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes. Credits: Getty Images.

Mohammad Abbas has been right on the money

However, Mohammad Abbas was focussed on bowling in the right areas when he got a chance to bowl at Stokes. The left-hander pranced down the track and Abbas was able to get the ball to move away slightly from round the wicket angle. It was a peach of a delivery from Abbas to hit the top of Stokes’ off-stump as he completely bamboozled the batsman.

“Ben Stokes is a big name in cricket right now. He is one of the world’s best allrounders, and he’s performed several times for his country. Before the game, we watched videos and analyzed how best to disrupt him. So we went around the wicket straightaway. I tried to bowl in the right areas, and he kept moving forward to try and disturb me. But my view is when a batsman comes forward, I am not disturbed by that. I feel I am disturbing the batsman by forcing him to move around the crease,” Abbas told Pakistan Cricket Board.

Mohammad Abbas
Mohammad Abbas (Image Credit: Twitter)

It was brilliant planning from Mohammad Abbas and he was able to execute his plans to perfection in the match as Stokes was dismissed without troubling the scorers. Abbas has scalped 80 wickets in 20 Test matches at an impressive average of 20.68.

Meanwhile, Ben Stokes went on to miss the second Test at Ageas Bowl, Southampton as he had to leave for Christchurch due to family reasons. Stokes will also miss the third Test at the same venue.

England leads the three-match series by 1-0 as they had won the first match by three wickets. The second Test match ended in a draw as rain and bad light frustrated the players. The third and final Test match will take place at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton from today.

Michael Vaughan
Michael Vaughan. Image Credit: Twitter.

England vs Pakistan: Michael Vaughan Reckons Mohammad Abbas Will Trouble England

Former England captain Michael Vaughan has claimed that the pacer Mohammad Abbas will play a huge role for Pakistan against England in the Second Test at Ageas Bowl in Southampton. He said that the pitch will be an aid to the Pakistan fast bowlers, especially Abbas, to get the team across the line. 

Rain and Bad light have largely affected the game on the second day of the Test match even the first session of the third day ended without a ball played because of rain.

Mohammad Abbas
Mohammad Abbas (Image Credit: Twitter)

The host England just needs one wicket to end Pakistan’s first innings as they are currently at 223 for nine. But the rain has been spoilsports and many are concluding the match would end in a draw. However, Michael Vaughan believes that there could be a result of this Test because of the turning pitch. 

I would have had nightmares facing Mohammad Abbas: Michael Vaughan

Michael Vaughan
Michael Vaughan (Image Credit: Getty Images)

The former cricketer has said that its a decent score in the pitch like Ageas Bowl. Further, Pakistan’s pacer would make the task difficult. He said that Mohammad Abbas’ accuracy can act as a nightmare for England’s batsmen. 

“I think there can be a result because the pitch is doing plenty. It is a classic English Test match style wicket. There is a green tinge and plenty of seam movement. When you have Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Abbas it is going to be very tough. This pitch has Mohammad Abbas written all over it. He is going to love it on a length. He is going to wobble it either way,” Michael Vaughan said while speaking to Cricbuzz

“I said last week, I would have had nightmares facing him at Old Trafford. I would not even be able to sleep a wink knowing I am facing Abbas tomorrow morning on this deck,” he said while speaking to Cricbuzz.

The 30-year-old Mohammad Abbas, who is playing the 20th Test match of his career, picked three wickets in the opening Test match which Pakistan eventually lost. 

Mohammad Abbas
Mohammad Abbas (Image Credit: Twitter)

Mohammad Yousuf Reveals Why He Has Faith In Mohammad Abbas

Legendary Pakistan batsman Mohammad Yousuf recently praised the present Pakistan bowling attack. Yousuf also revealed why he has faith in the 30-year-old Pakistan right-arm pacer Mohammad Abbas.

After making his international debut in 2017, Mohammad Abbas has played 18 Tests and three ODIs where he has taken 75 and only wickets respectively. In his first-class career, Abbas has picked up 456 wickets in 106 first-class matches.

Pakistan will restart their international cricket journey with the three-match Test series against the hosts England from the early next month.

Last time, when Pakistan toured in England in 2018 summer, Mohammad Abbas finished as the most wicket-taker (10 wickets) and also won the Player of the Series award while his team managed to draw that two-match Test series (1-1). Apart from featuring in that tour, Abbas also served for the Leicestershire between 2018 and 2019 summer. So, he knows the English condition very well.

Mohammad Abbas, Pakistan bowling attack
Mohammad Abbas (Image Credit: Twitter)

Many believe that the experienced Pakistan pacer Abbas can play a major role in the forthcoming crucial away Test series against the hosts England. Recently, the Pakistan Test captain Azhar Ali has also admitted that Abbas is going to a very important member in their pace bowling attack.

Mohammad Abbas has done well in the past, even on dead pitches in the UAE: Mohammad Yousuf

Mohammad Yousuf, Pakistan bowling attack
Mohammad Yousuf (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Mohammad Yousuf is also confident about the present Pakistan bowling attack. As Abbas has impressed with his bowling skills in the UAE’s dead pitches, Yousuf has enough faith in him.

Yousuf told Cricket Pakistan, “Pakistan’s bowling attack is a very good. [Mohammad] Abbas has done well in the past, even on dead pitches in [the] UAE.”

In the England tour, Pakistan will play the three Tests between 5th August and 25th August 2020. While Old Trafford (Manchester) will host the opening game of this Test series (5th-9th August), Rose Bowl (Southampton) will organise the next two Tests of this series (13th-17th August & 21st-25th August).

Pakistan bowling attack
Pakistan national cricket team (Image Credit: Twitter)

Later, England and Pakistan will play the three-match T20I series at Old Trafford (Manchester) on 28th August, 30th August and 1st September 2020.

Australia Name Unchanged Playing XI For Pink-Ball Test; Mohammad Abbas In Line To Make Comeback

Australia have announced an unchanged playing XI for the pink-ball Test against Pakistan which starts tomorrow in Adelaide. A debut for Michael Neser or a return for James Pattinson into the playing XI was only possible if Tim Paine had rotated the pacers but that wasn’t the case. Benched Cameron Bancroft and Pattinson have been released to play Sheffield Shield.

Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins will perform the pace bowling duties with Nathan Lyon sole spinner in the playing XI.

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Playing his first Test home after more than 20 months, David Warner ended his poor run and scored 154. Joe Burns made an impressive comeback in the Test side with a 97 but was denied a century by Yasir Shah. Marnus Labuschagne continued his magic run with 185 to lead Australia to a score of 580.

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Batting first, Pakistan survived a wicketless first session on day 1 but suffered a slump in last two sessions, losing all ten wickets. Their batting woes continued in the second innings and they were bowled out for 335, losing the match by an innings and five runs.

Australia Name Unchanged Playing XI For Pink-Ball Test; Mohammad Abbas In Line To Make Comeback 1
Photo: AFP

Babar Azam’s 104 did come as a relief for the visitors, who look to turn the fortunes in Adelaide. Wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan also stepped up with his 95.

Mohammad Abbas, a surprise exclusion for the first Test, looks likely to replace one of the pacers in the squad. Pakistan dropped a big surprise by going in with an inexperienced pace attack. Abbas also has an experience of 14 Tests but he has proved his credentials in England and unsupportive UAE pitches.

Imam-ul-Haq was also a surprise exclusion for the opening Test but the resistance from the opening batsmen in the first session will certainly see an unchanged batting order. If Pakistan lose this Test match, they will return empty-handed – losing all four completed international matches on the tour.