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.
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.
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.
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.