Pakistan include nine uncapped players in Test squad for home series against South Africa | Crickit
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Pakistan include nine uncapped players in Test squad for home series against South Africa

PTI | Byhindustantimes.com
Jan 15, 2021 05:44 PM IST

Top scoring batsmen Saud Shakeel, Kamran Ghulam, allrounder Agha Salman, left-arm spinner Nauman Ali, off-spinner Sajid Khan and fast bowlers Hasan Ali and Tabish Khan -- all got call-ups for the series beginning on January 26 at the National Stadium.

A fit-again Babar Azam returned while Shan Masood, Haris Sohail, and Imam-ul-Haq were axed for poor form as the Pakistan Cricket Board included nine uncapped cricketers in the home Test squad for two-match series against South Africa.

Babar Azam(Twitter)
Babar Azam(Twitter)

The 20-member squad will be trimmed to 16 ahead of the first Test. All the players in the meanwhile will remain a part of bio-bubble.

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Top scoring batsmen Saud Shakeel, Kamran Ghulam, allrounder Agha Salman, left-arm spinner Nauman Ali, off-spinner Sajid Khan and fast bowlers Hasan Ali and Tabish Khan -- all got call-ups for the series beginning on January 26 at the National Stadium.

The selectors also upgraded young batsman Abdullah Shafique to the Test squad although he was selected for the New Zealand tour as a specialist T20 player and failed in his two outings.


Hasan Ali has returned to the Test side after two years following a highly successful Quaid-e-Azam Trophy in which he was adjudged player of the final and tournament. Hasan, whose ninth and last Test appearance was against South Africa in Johannesburg, took 43 wickets and scored 273 runs in a fierce and highly competitive Quaid-e-Azam Trophy that included match figures of five for 129 and 106 not out in the second innings of the tied final.

Also returning to the side is left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz, who took 22 wickets with two-fers and scored 744 runs in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. He last played a Test against the West Indies in Sharjah in 2016.

Nawaz and Faheem Ashraf are the two-all-rounders in a side that also includes three openers, six middle-order batsmen, two wicketkeepers, three spinners and four fast bowlers.

Haris Sohail, Mohammad Abbas, Shan Masood and Zafar Gohar, who played in the last Test in Christchurch, have been left out. Haris, Abbas and Shan will be invited to the High Performance Centre in Lahore so that they can work on their technical faults with the qualified coaches. Zafar who made his Test Debut in Christchurch remains part of selectors long term plans in both red and white ball cricket, and will also work with NHPC coaches on further improvement of his all-round skillset.

Fast bowler Naseem Shah was not considered for selection after complaining of a niggle in his hamstring. He will shortly commence his rehabilitation programme at the National High Performance Centre.

Wasim, a former Test player, insisted that selectors would follow a horses for courses policy now and the squad had been picked keeping in mind the conditions in Pakistan for the SA series.

"Ideally we would like to have players who can adapt to all conditions like Babar Azam but we need time for that. But we want to develop players who can play in any conditions," he said.

Wasim also said that Haris Rauf had been inducted into the Test squad because the selectors felt that the bowling attack lacked aggression in New Zealand and he would bring that element to the pace attack.

Wasim also said that the selectors had done their best to acknowledge the top performers of the domestic season.

"This is a reward for their consistent performance, hard work and perseverance during a difficult season played under the strict Covid-19 protocols. This is also an endorsement that domestic cricket will be valued and respected, and will remain a stepping stone for international cricket.

"All those players who aspire to represent Pakistan at the global stage will not only have to feature in it but also perform at the expected levels to earn the selectors' nod.

"Even the players who have been dropped will not go out of the system and will be closely monitored."

Pakistan Test squad for SA series: Babar Azam (C), Muhammad Rizwan (VC), Imran Butt, Abdullah Shafique, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Kamran Ghulam, Agha Salman, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Tabish Khan, Haris Rauf, Sajid Khan, Nauman Ali, Yasir Shah. Faheem Ashraf, Muhammad Nawaz.

The South African team will reach Karachi on Saturday.

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