Pakistan have announced 16-member squad for the upcoming tours of Ireland and England on Sunday. Five uncapped players in Saad Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Imam Ul Haq, Usman Salahuddin and Fakhar Zaman have been included in the Test squad.
Opener Fakhar Zaman, who has done exceedingly well in the shorter formats for Pakistan has been selected for the tour of England. He has played 15 T20 Internationals and 13 ODIs for Pakistan since making his debut in 2017 in ICC Champions Trophy. He has produced a scorching ton in the finals of Champions Trophy against India to see Pakistan clinch their maiden crown. The left-hander has been impressive in recent first-class games and scored 663 runs at an average of 51.
Usman Salahuddin is certainly an experienced at the domestic circuit, having played 99 matches till now. He compiled 417 runs at an average of 37.9 during last year’s first-class competition. He has been previously selected for the series against Sri Lanka but did not play a single game in the series.
Saad Ali is a promising player who has scored 957 runs for United Bank Limited. He will be keen to make an impression with the bat. All-rounder Faheem Ashraf also has been selected due to his ability with bat and ball. The 24-year old has scored over 1200 runs and picked up 105 wickets in his first-class competition till now.
Left-handed opener Imam-ul-Haq has been picked for the series in England. He was impressive during the limited overs series against Sri Lanka.Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Sarfaraz Ahmed and Babar Azam will have to do the bulk of the scoring. Azhar is the premier batsman in the side and scored 504 runs in Test cricket last season.
The two surprise omissions from Test squad are pace bowler Wahab Riaz and middle-order batsman Fawad Alam. Riaz has been a premier bowler for Pakistan in the format since January 2016 and taken 40 wickets at an average of 33.Experienced batsman Fawad Alam was once again overlooked despite having an excellent first-class record. He has amassed over 10,000 runs at an average of 55.37.
In the bowling department, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Abbas will be first-choice bowlers for the side. Rahat Ali makes a comeback to the squad on the back of impressive performances produced at the domestic circuit.
Shadab Khan will be a premier spin option in the absence of Yasir Shah who has ruled out of the series due to hip bone injury.
Pakistan will first play a four-day game against Kent before taking on Ireland in the one-off Test at Dublin on 11th May. Pakistan will then play two-match series against England.
Pakistan’s Test Squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Azhar Ali, Usman Salahuddin, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Abbas, Hasan Ali, Haris Sohail, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Saad Ali, Asad Shafiq, Rahat Ali, Faheem Ashraf